The Board of Control for Cricket in India have come up with an idea of promoting Test matches in smaller cities of the nation to gain attendance, a trick that has worked with the One-Day Internationals. According to BCCI sources, Rajkot and Cuttack were in the proposed list of venues.
Several BCCI officials feel the list of venues should be increased to at least 15 from 10."The attendance in Test matches at bigger venues hasn't been great in recent days and so it's important to take Test cricket to smaller centres in future," a BCCI official was quoted as saying, by the Times of India.
The current venues for Test matches are - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mohali, Kanpur, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Although, recently, places like Rajkot, Ranchi, Indore, Cuttack, Jaipur, Kochi, Pune and even Dharamshala have hosted ODI matches and gained a respectable attendance.
"There is no reason to believe that these venues can't stage Test matches too. Enthusiasm is high among fans in smaller centres and they still love their cricket," the official added.
Many also pointed the example of the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup.
“The opening match of the tournament between India and the West Indies had around 100 to 200 spectators at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai. But on Friday, the match between Pakistan and Australia was witnessed by 4,000 spectators in Cuttack. This is not men's cricket but one can still see the enthusiasm.”
Despite all these proposals, there are few BCCI officials who are worried about pitch preparations, proper resting facilities for the players and transport services.
“All these factors will have to be taken into consideration before hosting Test matches in smaller centers,” a source concluded.
First Published: February 2, 2013, 11:48 am