There are major concerns heading into Australia’s first Test against the West Indies, with reports indicating that less than a thousand tickets have been sold.
The first Test of the two-game series will be held at Optus Stadium in Perth, beginning on Wednesday 30th November, as the Aussies officially get their summer of cricket underway.
But less than a week out from the game, there are looming fears that it could be a record-low turnout from fans – an issue that has been in the headlines plenty in recent weeks.
Marnus Labuschagne played down concerns over crowds after low ODI numbers, but heading into the first Test of the summer there is a genuine chance it could be the lowest-ever attendance in Perth.
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Speaking on SEN Sportsday WA, Chief cricket writer John Townsend revealed that the ticket pre-sales are sitting in the hundreds with five days before play begins at Optus Stadium.
“I’m hearing that ticket pre-sales, it’s only a week before the match, are in the hundreds, not the thousands,” he said.
“It could be a record-low West Australian Test.
“Remember when Zimbabwe came in October of 2003? It was one of the very few Tests played before November,” Townsend said.
“For that game, crowds were in the low thousands and I think this could be replicated again next week.
“It’s very sad, at a stadium that’s a fantastic place to play cricket.”
With a capacity of 60,000 it would be a horror sight for Cricket Australia if the stadium is mostly empty, especially given the public’s refusal to turn up for ODI games in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Townsend believes that the current feeling towards the Australian side, as well as the burnout for cricket fans, will lead to the low crowds.
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“I think there’s a lot of elements in Australian cricket and West Australian cricket at the moment that are working against the best interest of the game,” he said.
“I think we’re going to see it, people will vote with their feet.
“Whether it’ll be embarrassing or not, that’s for the people to decide but I think it’s going to be very low.”