Abu Dhabi Cricket Council has decided to make the entry free for the last three days of the Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Test as they are facing trouble drawing in the crowds. However, free entry to Sheikh Zayed Stadium might not solve the entire problem due to soaring temperature and long working hours.
United Arab Emirates is the adopted home of Pakistan, however, even there attracting spectators is becoming more and more difficult.
On the first day of the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, there were just a handful of people, less than 100, watching the match live, and again the apathy was evident again on Friday, despite the day being a holiday.
As a possible solution to this problem, the stadium organisers have decided to make the entry free for the last three days.
Shahnawaz Hakim, the stadium’s operations manager, said that more people come for One-Day Internationals than for Tests. "We have made entry free for the last three days. We keep low price for Test tickets, like 25 and 50 Dirhams, but now we want people to come for free so we expect more people will come,” said Hakim.
One of the biggest reason behind the lack of crowds is the long working hours of people. The expats working in the UAE work till 6.00pm in the evening and almost all the taxi drivers work on holidays as well. Temperatures soaring to 40 degrees Celsius and beyond in September don't help as well.
With the provision of free entry, the organizers and management hope to see more crowds in the empty stands, however, the uncertainty looms over the series and it might result in this series being unsuccessful in terms of the reach.