Die-hard fans keep away from Oz-Kenya tie

March 13th, 2011 - 3:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 13 (IANS) A week after the India-Ireland match brought them in droves to the Chinnaswamy Stadium here, die-hard fans are conspicuous by their absence Sunday for the Group A fixture between mighty Australia and minnows Kenya in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

In contrast to the carnival atmosphere and frenzy that gripped the stadium a fortnight ago for the high-octane India-England group B match Feb 27, eerie calmness prevails across the forlorn stands, even as a few hundred lazy fans hover around the venue on a hot afternoon for the one-dayer.

Though thousands of fans made a beeline to the stadium for the India-Australia warm-up match a month ago (Feb 13), the presence of defending champion and its fearsome batsmen and bowlers has not enthused them to turn up this time.

“The poor response is obvious, as India is not playing, but cricket enthusiasts will still make it as the match progresses,” Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) spokesman Sujit Somasundar, a former Ranji player, told IANS.

“We had packed stadium for two league matches in which India figured, while the third game between England and Ireland March 2, though exciting, attracted hardly about 10,000 fans,” he added.

Security, however, remains tight. About 2,000 policemen have been deployed in and around the stadium following threats from terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to disrupt World Cup matches in the Indian sub-continent.

The Aussies, led by skipper Ricky Ponting and the Kenyans, captained by Jimmy Kamande, arrived at the stadium in bullet-proof buses under heavy police escort that included an anti-terror squad vehicle in the front.

The Aussies are playing their fourth match after scoring five points from three games, winning two against Zimbabwe and New Zealand and sharing a point with Sri Lanka in the rained-out tie in Colombo March 6.

After playing Canada here March 16, its last league encounter will be against Pakistan March 19 in Colombo.

Kenya is playing its fifth match here after losing all the four encounters against New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Canada. Its last match is against Zimbabwe March 20 in Kolkata.

– Indo-Asian News Service
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