Following India’s win in the third Test in Ranchi against South Africa, captain Virat Kohli suggested the format to be limited to just five centres in the country. However, officials of smaller associations do not agree with Kohli’s idea citing the passionate following for the game in these regions.
“Why limit Tests to just 5 cities in India? We have so many cities where there is huge passion for the game. It is important that Tests are not restricted to just five centres,” former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah told The Times of India.
In recent times, the BCCI has attempted to take Test cricket out from traditional centres hoping to attract bigger crowds. During the tenure of Late Jagmohan Dalmiya, a former BCCI president, the centres were expanded to 10. And when Anurag Thakur took over as the head, venues at Ranchi, Dharamsala, Vizag, Rajkot and Pune were also given opportunities to host Test cricket.
Shah felt the low attendance at the venues is due to the comfort factor as fans prefer watching cricket on TV. “The numbers on TV are huge whenever India play. It is a factor that also needs to be considered. It is far more comfortable perhaps to watch on TV,” he said.
The report further quoted an unnamed Baroda Cricket Association official suggesting day-night Test cricket to attract bigger crowds. “Playing day-night Tests could help in getting bigger crowds. It is unfair to say that only the big cities should hold Tests. After all, most of the players come from the smaller centres and it is important that Tests continue to be held in these places so that players keep being produced,” the official said.