Friday, July 16, 2010

ABSURD SCHEDULING

Nagpur will be hosting the third Test instead of Mumbai during New Zealand's tour of India in November - December 2010. Earlier, this match (20 - 24 November) was scheduled for Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. But after Mumbai Cricket Association's announcement that it will be unable to host the match due to the preparations for World Cup 2011, BCCI decided to shift it to Nagpur.

Empty Stands don't bear a pretty sight!
The current BCCI President Shashank Manohar, originally from Nagpur, was elected to his post on 29th September 2008. From that point, India played 33 international home games (11 Tests, 20 ODIs, 2 T20Is), out of which Nagpur has hosted the most number for any venue - 5 matches (2 Tests, 2 ODIs, 1 T20I).

By the end of this year, Nagpur and Mohali would have hosted 3 Tests each (starting from October 2008). Given that these two venues have seen extremely low crowd attendances in Test cricket over the recent past, it seems that BCCI is not using any head in its scheduling. In 2008 against Australia, Sachin Tendulkar went past Brian Lara as the highest run scorer in Test cricket in front of virtually empty stands at Mohali. And a couple of weeks later at Nagpur's new stadium in Jamtha, he scored a century acknowledged by a handful of spectators.


Things were no different when Mohali hosted its next Test against England and Nagpur hosted against South Africa. Part of the reason for low attendance for Test cricket in these grounds (apart from the dwindling interest in the purest form of the game) is the fact that these stadiums (at Mohali and Jamtha) are located quite some distance away from the main cities of Chandigarh and Nagpur respectively. Most spectators are unwilling to travel that far for a day of Test cricket that might not even bear a result.

So I am stumped as to why BCCI has ignored the other Tests grounds that have shown good crowd attendance whenever they have had a chance to witness Test cricket. Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata have hosted just 1 Test each during this period... and by the end of 2010, Bangalore will be the only venue amongst these four to increase its tally to 2 against Australia. These grounds have seen good crowd support for Test cricket... but either BCCI is blind and deaf or it is dumb. I guess it's the latter!

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2 comments:

Freehit said...

Hey Shridhar,
A very good point you made there.I have to agree that Mohali and Nagpur are very good grounds,but,like you said very have hardly any crowd what so ever.BCCI needs to use their head instead of just favouring grounds from where the top officials belong.
Something similar happened with Rajkot when Niranjan Shah was Secretary.He gave an ODI in almost every series India hosted during that time.Its just stupid.

Shridhar Jaju said...

That's right, Mayank! I forgot to mention that these two grounds are two of the finest in India. Certainly, there is no beating them in terms of facilities. But fans and their noise makes cricket interesting... not politics!

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