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Fans a no show at Oval

Justin Marville

Fans a no show at Oval

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THE MECCA or the morgue?There wasn’t much of a  difference between the two for the seven hours West Indies and South Africa undertook yesterday’s opening day of the third cricket test match at Kensington Oval. It brought the few mournful West Indian fans close to tears.Thousands of empty seats around the ground told the tale of West Indies cricket, at a place renowned for attracting enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans drawn by its rich history and carnival-like ambience.Even with scores of Scotia Bank Kiddy cricketers present, Kensington’s numbers barely breached four figures by the post-lunch session while both the Hall & Griffith and Mitchie Hewitt stands were notably closed to spectators for the first time in Test cricket. Tickets for those stands weren’t even sold.Critics of Test cricket certainly noted that these vacant seats weren’t in existence six weeks ago for any of the nine matches during the Barbados leg of the ICC World Twenty20.“It’s been going for some time now,” remarked celebrated cricket journalist Tony Cozier, who has been watching Test cricket at the Oval since 1948.Several clearly stood home to catch the two World Cup second-round fixtures. Already despondent with the Windies’ woes.Others have been turned back by what they deem as “steep” ticket prices, which average around $50 as opposed to May’s Twenty20 tournament, which was some $20 cheaper.