"Filled a seat himself..": Fans lambast Jay Shah for empty stadium during World Cup opener

The Narendra Modi stadium, which has a capacity of 1.32 lakhs was barely 10 percent occupied.
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The opening match of the ICC World Cup 2023 in Ahmedabad, hosted at the world’s largest cricket venue Narendra Modi Stadium presented a disheartening sight with empty stands.

As England and New Zealand, finalists from the previous edition took the field for the first match on October 5, the stadium which has a capacity of 1.32 lakhs was barely 10 percent occupied. This led to strong criticism directed towards the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its secretary Jay Shah.

A report from England's Daily Mail indicated that a mere 4,000 seats were filled when the England vs New Zealand World Cup match commenced in Ahmedabad.

Upon visiting the official World Cup ticket-selling website, one can still find available tickets for purchase. However, a significant 80 percent of the stadium's capacity is either already sold or not offered for online sale.

Indian cricket enthusiasts turned to social media platforms, including X (formerly Twitter) to voice their discontent towards the BCCI and Shah. Some even called for Shah’s resignation.

Jay Shah and BCCI receive flak from former cricketers

Criticism was directed at the BCCI for initiating the ticket sale process belatedly, while others empathized with individuals choosing to avoid the scorching daytime temperatures, expecting greater attendance after office hours in the evening. Ravi Shastri, sitting in the comms, suggested India should have featured in the first match of the tournament to give the meg-event a proper kickstart with a houseful audience. 

Former Indian opener, Virender Sehwag, proposed the distribution of complimentary tickets to schools and colleges for non-India World Cup matches.

“Hopefully after office hours, there should be more people coming in. But for games not featuring Bharat, there should be free tickets for school and college children. With the fading interest in 50 over game, it will definitely help that youngsters get to experience a World Cup game and players get to play in fron of a full stadium . #CWC23 (sic),” Sehwag posted on X.

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