Fans are the lifeblood of sport ,and cricket is no exception. So to read that over a million fans have flocked to the stadiums during the ICC World Cup is heartening. And as I write, quite a few thousand have turned up at the Eden Gardens for the inconsequential England v Pakistan encounter. Yes, the semi-finalists are all decided. Or almost, if you wish to believe in the surreal possibility of Pakistan still making it. The England-Pakistan match is more about pride and Champions Tropy qualification (for England) than anything else. Despite this, fans have turned up to enjoy the encounter.
At the start of the tournament, there was a lot of talk about empty stadiums and poor attendance. One-sided matches did not help either. But with time, the World Cup has picked up steam, and fans too have made the tournament their own. Efforts like the one from Glenn Maxwell against Afghanistan, or Fakhar Zaman against New Zealand, have helped and it has been a big shot in the arm for the 50-over format.
In fact, the Australia-South Africa semi-final at Eden Gardens is expected to be sold out, despite India not playing in Kolkata. And that’s what the World Cup should be about. High-quality cricket, enjoyed by passionate and committed cricket fans. The one reason why the IPL is always a safer investment is because India wins every night. In the World Cup, non-India games will always run the risk of being watched or supported by fewer spectators. In that regard, the one-million-plus figure is a serious boost for the game and its organisers.
With just four matches left after Saturday, at least two of which will involve India, it can be safely assumed that this World Cup will finish with close to 1.25 million fans thronging the stadiums – the highest aggregate in World Cup history. Indian fans have done all that they can for the future of the 50-over game. Now it is on the ICC and fans from other countries to ensure that the momentum is not lost.
Fans are the lifeblood of sport ,and cricket is no exception. So to read that over a million fans have flocked to the stadiums during the ICC World Cup is…
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