BCCI to take Test cricket to smaller venues

The second Test match at the Eden Gardens saw turnout of 10,000 in the entire day on Monday at a stadium, which in the past witnessed one-lakh plus spectators Getty Images

Kolkata: Nov 15, 2011

The Indian Cricket Board is mulling the idea of organising Test matches in smaller centres to promote the longest form of the game after seeing the poor response in major venues like Eden Gardens and New Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla during the ongoing India-West Indies series.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the second Test, BCCI’s chief administrative officer, Prof Ratnakar Shetty said they were thinking of organising matches in non-Test venues.

“We are planning to bring Test matches to the non-Test venues. I think we will get more crowd by making this. We will discuss this in our next meeting,” Shetty told reporters at Eden Gardens today.

But he said they have to discuss the matter with the International Cricket Council as the ODI venues need to follow certain guidelines in order to host Test matches.

“Certain guidelines are followed for the organisation of Test matches. Not all the ODI venues have all the facilities required to host a Test. We have to discuss this with ICC.”

The second Test began with less than one thousand people in attendance on Monday, with the entire day’s turnout improving marginally to 10,000 at a stadium, which had in the past witnessed one-lakh plus spectators.

Even on day two, when India feasted on the bowlers with tons from VVS Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the numbers did not improve with just about 8,000 in attendance.

Even during the Kotla Test, the sight was similar.

“Everywhere it’s the same. The Board is thinking strongly about it. We are also planning to encourage school children by distributing them free tickets,” he said.

He said it was not feasible to have day-night Tests.

Indian batsman VVS Laxman said he was surprised to see the Eden empty.

“Definitely surprised at the number of spectators. Even during one-day, we always felt Kolkata is one place where you get a lot of support. I don’t know the reason behind it.

“We have to find out the exact reason for the crowd not coming and think about a solution.”(PTI)