Capital cricket buffs don't seem too star-struck.
Two days before the twin Celebrity Cricket League matches at the 40,000-seater JSCA stadium in Ranchi, 12,000 crickets are yet to be sold. Around 28,000 tickets are accounted for, but a major bulk comprises complimentary passes to VIPs and JSCA members.
Anand Almeida, a senior official of the Manoj Tiwari-led team Bhojpuri Dabanggs, said the sale would continue till February 24 morning. "We hope to touch magical figures tomorrow. If not, sales may be open till Sunday morning for fans wanting to buy tickets at the last moment," said he.
He optimistically added "response is not that bad". "We have a three-year contract with the JSCA grounds. So, we will surely develop a great relationship with the city."
But the relationship seems to have started on a lukewarm note. "We had around 200 tickets, but half are still left," said an executive at Calvin Hobbes, a joint selling CCL tickets.
Eylex, also selling CCL tickets, reported "low but gradually improving sales". Manager Ajit Choudhary said sales had picked up "a bit since this morning compared to yesterday (Thursday)".
"It's neither too good nor bad. We are selling all variants of tickets Rs 300, 600, 1,000 and 1,200. The Bhojpuri roadshow of Thursday has helped matters slightly," he said, alluding to actor-singer Manoj Tiwari and actors-cum-brand ambassadors of Bhojpuri Dabanggs Urvashi Choudhary and Smriti Mishra.
Tickets are also being sold from JSCA stadium counters. "Unlike the ODI where fans waited overnight and snapped up tickets on the first day of sales, there is not enough excitement for this event. We hope sales improve tomorrow," said an official.
The absence of a strong starry line-up may have been a major reason for the dull response.
"There are very few known stars. Plus, it is a maiden event so may be the craze will pick up slowly. Had there been a full Bollywood team here, the scene would have been different," he added.
Veer Marathi captain and Bolly actor Ritesh Deshmukh and his actress wife Genelia of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na fame as well as other team members are expected to reach Ranchi on Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday, matches will begin from 3pm, the first between Telugu Warriors and Karnataka Bulldozers. Bhojpuri Dabanggs, likely to enjoy crowd support for its Bihari connect, will take on Veer Marathi from 7pm onwards.
Manoj Tiwari is probably praying for some Mahi magic.