India, SL played to Half-Empty Stands After Minister’s Remark, Yuvi Raises Concern

Thiruvananthapuram: There was a tiff about the partially empty cricket stadium that was there for the third one-day international between India and Sri Lanka on Sunday in Thiruvananthapuram. Before making this contentious claim, Kerala Sports Minister V Abdurahiman had said that individuals who were poor and starving did not need to attend the cricket game from the stadium.

On January 9, Minister Abdurahiman declared, “Those starving need not go and watch the game.” He made the remark when asked about the entertainment tax for the ticket pricing, which was increased to 12 per cent.

In a statement, the opposition leader, VD Satheesan, urged the sports minister not to raise the issue of Malayalees’ self-worth once more. “The Sports Minister said those who are starving should not come to watch the game. The game is taking place in front of an empty gallery. Don’t question the self-esteem of Malayalis, at least from now,” he wrote on Facebook.

During the 3rd ODI match between India and Sri Lanka on Sunday, the stadium was only half occupied, which the populace interpreted as a protest against the Sports Minister. Many, including former Indian cricketing greats, expressed concern about the stadium being just partially occupied.

Yuvraj Singh tweeted that he was worried about the future of the ODI upon seeing the half-empty stadium, even as India thrashed Sri Lanka by a record margin. Yuvaraj Singh tweeted, “Well played @ShubmanGill hopefully goes on to make a 💯 @imVkohli batting at the other end looking Solid ! But concern for me half empty stadium ? Is one day cricket dying ?”

Many people from Kerala responded to the post by noting that although the state’s residents adore soccer, “we just followed what our minister said.”

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