India v Australia, 2nd Test, Mohali, 4th day October 20, 2008

'Empty stands a challenge' - Bindra

Cricinfo staff
21


Crowds stayed away from the Test in Mohali even with Sachin Tendulkar breaking Brian Lara's record for most Test runs © Getty Images
 

In a week of surprising, distressing events - turbulence in the airline industry, the crash of the stock market and the collapse of a flyover in Delhi - the one foreseeable positive was Sachin Tendulkar becoming the world's leading run-getter in Tests. Yet when he got it the response at the ground was underwhelming - because the stands were largely empty.

There are various reasons put forward but IS Bindra, the Punjab Cricket Association chief, conceded the paying public has been "short-changed" in most Indian grounds and he promised to improve conditions in Mohali.

The poor turnout had people wondering if Test cricket still retains its popularity, for the same venue was sold out for the IPL and last year's one-dayer between India and Pakistan. IS Bindra, the Punjab Cricket Association president, said one of the reasons for the disappointing numbers could be the number of matches Mohali hosted last year. "We had 13 matches last year... Mohali, with a population of 1 million, cannot sustain in terms of crowd response," Bindra said. "That's what our research says." Chandigarh, the big city where the teams stay during matches in Mohali, may have a fraction more.

Another reason for the poor turnout could be the mental demands of watching Test cricket, which is different to watching ODIs and Twenty20s, offering fewer moments of obvious excitement and requiring far more concentration.

Perhaps the most significant factor, and one which Bindra himself conceded, is the poor spectator facilities - ironic, because Mohali's facilities are unmatched in India - and the stringent security measures. Getting to the ground is hard enough - the police don't allow anyone other than VIPs to bring their cars within a kilometre of the stadium. One of the most ridiculous security procedures was to force people down a 200-metre path when there was another, more direct route a quarter of the length. "That route is meant only for VIPs," a security official said.

Having reached the ground, the spectator is faced with restrictions on carrying water bottles and umbrellas. The only covered stands are those for members; non-members sit through the day under the sun, on plastic chairs that can get very uncomfortable in temperatures touching 30 degrees Celsius. Why walk a kilometre, then spend seven hours under the sun when you can watch it all on TV?

It's a point Bindra readily concedes. "If you can watch Test-match cricket for five days in the air-conditioned comfort of your own home, here you spend two hours getting into the stadium, going through the police," Bindra said. "The TRP ratings [for Tests] are very high, but it is essential to have people at the ground. We have to make our grounds spectator-friendly. We have been short-changing the public [in most Indian grounds] so far, the public will start short-changing us unless we improve."

Bindra said the association was "badly affected" by the lack of spectators for the Test. "It's the pride of the ground, and we take it very seriously. It's a challenge we must accept, and take it very seriously." He said the PCA planned two new international centres, in Bathinda and Jalandhar. "So if we rotate the matches, the novelty will still be there. Money is not everything, money is not an end in itself. It's good so far as it goes into the game. There's no atmosphere without the people."

There is a photograph of the stadium during the 2004-05 Ranji Trophy final between Railways and Punjab. The wide shot takes in the empty stands, where only two people sit watching the championship match. If the PCA doesn't want similar photos taken during Tests, it must act fast. Otherwise, as Bindra said, the public will short-change it.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • royapuram_rockers on October 21, 2008, 4:16 GMT

    The main reason for the low turn out at Mohali for test matches,could be the absence of a roof to cover the stands.You dont expect a person to sit in the sun the whole day and risk a sunstroke.By contrast grounds like Chennai,Bangalore,Bombay etc.attract more crowd as they are fully covered and the spectators are more comfortable.Mohali has the perfect setting for a T-20 match with its unmatchable ambiance but i dont think its spectators are test worthy.The Bcci sould stick to the Metros for Tests.I am utterly disappointed that Chennai cant host its traditional Pongal Day tests anymore.When Melbourne can have a Boxing Day why not the same here.In fact this tradition is much older than the one at Melbourne.

  • kingofspain on October 21, 2008, 1:07 GMT

    With the security measures described in this article, it's a wonder anyone goes to watch a match in Mohali.

    During the broadcast, Mark Nicholas goes on and on about how people aren't coming because of the IPL. I really believe the two formats attract very different audiences. Besides, the IPL isn't until April, I don't think it has much of an effect.

    Honestly, sitting outside in the heat after going through a gauntlet of security measures doesn't sound like much fun. I'd watch at home too!

  • Test_Match_Fan on October 20, 2008, 22:22 GMT

    there should be a TV blackout in host city and surrounding areas, coupled with good spectator facilities and reasonable ticket price

  • Project_Mayhem on October 20, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    I think PCA should allow free entry for last day's play, they should advertise in Newspapers about this free entry. Atleast there will be some decent crowd to cheer Indian Victory.

  • anmn on October 20, 2008, 17:14 GMT

    I dont see any cause for concern. Mohali is not the premier most ground in India. TV viewership is still very good. Just because its India-Aus, you cant expect the entire city will load into the stadium. Its still a Test Match. Remember ICL is also going on. So, there is no cause to concern. The facilities may not be world-class in Mohali, but relatively its getting better every year.

    However, Cricket will loose its shine in India (but probably not money). But, thats a concern a few years from now.

  • peter_della_penna on October 20, 2008, 17:09 GMT

    It may take a tragedy like Hillsborough to force BCCI officials and politicians to get grounds up to world standards. However, a tragedy like Hillsborough only occurs when the stadium is packed, which is only possible for ODI or 20/20 crowds. As long as the stadium is empty, there is no threat to fan safety and they can be exploited in the ways that are listed in the other comments.

  • rs29 on October 20, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    Hi From my person experience, I went to India last year to watch India vs Pakistan one day, Security would not even allow me to take my cell phone or camera to the ground, so why should i bother going to the ground, I traveled all the way from Canada to see one game and i wanted to take some Pics. Seating was ok, but no order other than VIP seating, Also access to more expensive tickets are only available to high end or so called VIP people. Normal People should be given access to buy better seats. They should setup a website where people can buy tickets online and i do agree with Ashwin, being the richest board india should be spending more money on comfort of fans being that they got the largest number of Fans in the world

  • kalyanbk on October 20, 2008, 16:29 GMT

    While spectator comfort is an important point, I believe that the BCCI must respect the test centres where the fans love test cricket. Why isn't Chennai given more test matches when it is proven over and over that they have the most knowledgable fans? Can you imagine the turn out in the Eden Gardens for Ganguly's last series? What happened to the Brabourne Stadium im Mumbai where people love their test cricket? What about Green Park Kanpur or Vidharba stadium in Nagpur? Why does Bangalore with such an ordinary pitch or Mohali which has historically had ordinary turnouts for test cricket always seem to have preferential treatment?

  • sreeroop on October 20, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    As i had been to CHINNASWAMY stadium(Bangalore) this time for the IN-AUS clash i found the facilities extremely good...the gadgets were allowed, the security for known reasons were tight which cant be blamed, the food was just perfect even appreciated by some foriegners, toilet facilities were tidy, the stands had roof for shade and most importantly the qoulity of cricket was near perfect..oh i just forgot to tell u that i went for the cheapest stand!! and i found the facilities were impressive... We cannot simply argue without going to the stadium and blabber about facilities, be there support test cricket especially Indian team for this high profile series...

  • shirazu on October 20, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    I have not been to a match in India but have heard that the grounds are simply appalling everywhere, far inferior to even lower league baseball and football in the west. Food and beverages are not even sold, in fact one is lucky to even be able to obtain water, and bathrooms are intolerable. Combined with this it is prohibited to bring one's own food. And all-seater stadiums seem to be an impossible dream. On the other hand the high security requirements are understandable given the terrorism situation, but most people I know would never agree to go eight hours without a mobile phone. Even on American airplanes one can use a mobile phone! This requirement is simply unreasonable. The number of people willing to dedicate a whole day to watching an event that lasts five and ends in a draw 40% of the time is always going to be limited, but these are the kind of things that keep even the true fans from coming back.

  • royapuram_rockers on October 21, 2008, 4:16 GMT

    The main reason for the low turn out at Mohali for test matches,could be the absence of a roof to cover the stands.You dont expect a person to sit in the sun the whole day and risk a sunstroke.By contrast grounds like Chennai,Bangalore,Bombay etc.attract more crowd as they are fully covered and the spectators are more comfortable.Mohali has the perfect setting for a T-20 match with its unmatchable ambiance but i dont think its spectators are test worthy.The Bcci sould stick to the Metros for Tests.I am utterly disappointed that Chennai cant host its traditional Pongal Day tests anymore.When Melbourne can have a Boxing Day why not the same here.In fact this tradition is much older than the one at Melbourne.

  • kingofspain on October 21, 2008, 1:07 GMT

    With the security measures described in this article, it's a wonder anyone goes to watch a match in Mohali.

    During the broadcast, Mark Nicholas goes on and on about how people aren't coming because of the IPL. I really believe the two formats attract very different audiences. Besides, the IPL isn't until April, I don't think it has much of an effect.

    Honestly, sitting outside in the heat after going through a gauntlet of security measures doesn't sound like much fun. I'd watch at home too!

  • Test_Match_Fan on October 20, 2008, 22:22 GMT

    there should be a TV blackout in host city and surrounding areas, coupled with good spectator facilities and reasonable ticket price

  • Project_Mayhem on October 20, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    I think PCA should allow free entry for last day's play, they should advertise in Newspapers about this free entry. Atleast there will be some decent crowd to cheer Indian Victory.

  • anmn on October 20, 2008, 17:14 GMT

    I dont see any cause for concern. Mohali is not the premier most ground in India. TV viewership is still very good. Just because its India-Aus, you cant expect the entire city will load into the stadium. Its still a Test Match. Remember ICL is also going on. So, there is no cause to concern. The facilities may not be world-class in Mohali, but relatively its getting better every year.

    However, Cricket will loose its shine in India (but probably not money). But, thats a concern a few years from now.

  • peter_della_penna on October 20, 2008, 17:09 GMT

    It may take a tragedy like Hillsborough to force BCCI officials and politicians to get grounds up to world standards. However, a tragedy like Hillsborough only occurs when the stadium is packed, which is only possible for ODI or 20/20 crowds. As long as the stadium is empty, there is no threat to fan safety and they can be exploited in the ways that are listed in the other comments.

  • rs29 on October 20, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    Hi From my person experience, I went to India last year to watch India vs Pakistan one day, Security would not even allow me to take my cell phone or camera to the ground, so why should i bother going to the ground, I traveled all the way from Canada to see one game and i wanted to take some Pics. Seating was ok, but no order other than VIP seating, Also access to more expensive tickets are only available to high end or so called VIP people. Normal People should be given access to buy better seats. They should setup a website where people can buy tickets online and i do agree with Ashwin, being the richest board india should be spending more money on comfort of fans being that they got the largest number of Fans in the world

  • kalyanbk on October 20, 2008, 16:29 GMT

    While spectator comfort is an important point, I believe that the BCCI must respect the test centres where the fans love test cricket. Why isn't Chennai given more test matches when it is proven over and over that they have the most knowledgable fans? Can you imagine the turn out in the Eden Gardens for Ganguly's last series? What happened to the Brabourne Stadium im Mumbai where people love their test cricket? What about Green Park Kanpur or Vidharba stadium in Nagpur? Why does Bangalore with such an ordinary pitch or Mohali which has historically had ordinary turnouts for test cricket always seem to have preferential treatment?

  • sreeroop on October 20, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    As i had been to CHINNASWAMY stadium(Bangalore) this time for the IN-AUS clash i found the facilities extremely good...the gadgets were allowed, the security for known reasons were tight which cant be blamed, the food was just perfect even appreciated by some foriegners, toilet facilities were tidy, the stands had roof for shade and most importantly the qoulity of cricket was near perfect..oh i just forgot to tell u that i went for the cheapest stand!! and i found the facilities were impressive... We cannot simply argue without going to the stadium and blabber about facilities, be there support test cricket especially Indian team for this high profile series...

  • shirazu on October 20, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    I have not been to a match in India but have heard that the grounds are simply appalling everywhere, far inferior to even lower league baseball and football in the west. Food and beverages are not even sold, in fact one is lucky to even be able to obtain water, and bathrooms are intolerable. Combined with this it is prohibited to bring one's own food. And all-seater stadiums seem to be an impossible dream. On the other hand the high security requirements are understandable given the terrorism situation, but most people I know would never agree to go eight hours without a mobile phone. Even on American airplanes one can use a mobile phone! This requirement is simply unreasonable. The number of people willing to dedicate a whole day to watching an event that lasts five and ends in a draw 40% of the time is always going to be limited, but these are the kind of things that keep even the true fans from coming back.

  • Deb_Rockstars on October 20, 2008, 13:54 GMT

    The only point of interest for indian cricket administrators is how many people [read : cattle] they can pack in to a stadium when they get a lucrative T20 or ODI game...if you happen to visit a limited over game in any indian stadium...you will invariably see many many more people inside than the actual capacity...lot many remain standing...others just manage to squeeze themselves in between somebody.And thats where precisely the point is...Improving facilities, in terms of installing seats and shades etc is not just costly, but it also costs our administrators the 'extra capacities' inside the stadiums. So if people can fill in like sardines in those same stands in T20/ODIs...why improve ? The fact sadly is that administrators DO NOT care about test matches...bring on T20 !...and believe me...in India some things never change...whenever a Mohali like situations come...empty words like mr bindra's come out...nothing changes...sadly test matches will have to live with that.

  • S_Sen on October 20, 2008, 12:44 GMT

    Overzealous security arrangements are a total killjoy, and in that regard Indian Test match venues are like American airports. It would be impractical to replicate the relaxed, beer-fueled atmosphere of English or Australian crowds in India (because drunken Indians are even more obnoxious than drunken Brits and Aussies, and yes, that IS possible), but surely there are ways of making it less stressful to go to the ground? Since the revenue comes from television anyway, why not make admission free, or charge a token amount? Do away with the idiotic water-bottle rules, provide covered stands, make snacks and soft drinks easier to find. And keep the Tests in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Bangalore.

  • viks23 on October 20, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    Agree with all posters; All I'll say to Mr Bindra is dont treat people like cattle and you might see a few more. Actually, Mr. Pawar, Modi and their cronies should spend an entire day watching a test (which due to the lack of people is actually a better experience) and an ODI as normal customers to get the true experience. One would think that being politicians, they would believe in listening to the people .. sadly that is never the case.

  • Radomir on October 20, 2008, 12:16 GMT

    This is very interesting that in India, the place supposedly of cricket fanatics where it is almost a religion, the crowds are the most pitiful. Only the West Indies has a worse attendance. I live in Perth and every year the WACA is getting more and more packed, tickets are becoming more scarce and the test cricket crowds are coming in huge numbers despite having to put up with the some of hottest weather in Australia and some of the least exciting days of Test cricket. I think a few reasons for why the crowds aren't turning up would be the inconvinience required to get there. I mean just reading what people have said, for me I, If I happened to live in Mohali, that would be the first thing that would put me off. This is the most exciting series of Test Cricket since the 2005/06 ashes and we are getting very poor crowds. What does this say??

  • edmundpw on October 20, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    I went to the last Test Match at the PCA stadium in Mohali - against England in March 2006. The crowds were similar for that match and then everyone was blaming the high ticket prices - I paid 800 rupees for a five-day pass, but that was for the Chair Stand. Tickets were cheaper for the terraces. The facilities were tolerable (compared to the other Indian grounds I have visited - Feroz Shah Kotla and Wankhede), though poor by international standards. Of course journalists and the media have the benefit of far superior facilities compared to the rest of us. My own view is that the stadium at Mohali is tough going for a spectator at a Test Match, which is played through the heat of the height of the day. Much easier for a T20 match that only lasts three and a half hours or an ODI which is more likely to be played as a day-nighter, under lights. Provision of cover from the sun and allowing spectators to bring in their mobile phones, plus their own refreshments would help.

  • ennarvi on October 20, 2008, 11:09 GMT

    I guess in these days of T20, no one is interested in Test cricket barring in major metros, like Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. Even Delhi will not be having that much turnout I am sure. I went to watch the first test for 2 days, i.e. on Friday and Saturday at Chinnaswamy. Friday was half full, approx 20-25000 where as Saturday was great, ground almost full. But this test is not even 25,000 combining all these 4 days I guess! Scheduling also is important. They should start a test on Thursday or Friday so that they get a good turnout on weekends. This series is good in that regard, but the other series starts on main weekdays, starting on Mondays, Tuesdays and ending by weekend. Absolutely ridiculous schedule. Who will go to watch test match if all days run on weekdays? No body will go, and eventually it will be dead.

  • Nagi_von_NJ on October 20, 2008, 10:31 GMT

    I think with the popularity of Test Cricket being where it is - at the bottom of the formats - at least for the most layman fan of the game should return to where it started - the 4 or 5 major venues.

    The crowds will still come and it will be sustainable and most importantly the cricketers themselves will feel like playing their best in these matches. So let us go back to Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Delhi as primary venues and of course have Kanpur and Bangalore in the mix. We certainly had more people in the stands at Bangalore.

    The theory of other venues not having an opportunity to witness top class cricket is taken care of IPL and ICL and other major domestic matches. By the way Test cricket is still played at the major places in England, West Indies and Australia.

  • Aswin_ganesh on October 20, 2008, 10:03 GMT

    Mr. Bindra, I would like to first know what BCCI is doing with all the money. Being the richest cricket board in the world, I think they can even afford to renovate all the cricket stadiums in the country, then why this pathetic situation. Maybe the BCCI thinks that we, the spectators, are only money bags. Maybe that's why the BCCI seems to ignore the basic amenities for cricket matches inspite the concerns. Instead of writing this article, why don;t you carry this issue to Mr.Sharad Powar or Modi??? Maybe those people will have an answer. Mr.Bindra, please don't ask us questions whose answers are so obvious. People in BCCI are interested only in making money and the methods used to gain more money.

  • Shikhar_TheGreat on October 20, 2008, 9:55 GMT

    Well hello all. I just came back from the match. Reached there at 11 and came back at 1:30. The problems I felt was that it was a pretty sunny day. The weather in Chandigarh before the 17th oct. seemed beautiful and even scared of an irresistible cold. Guess I was wrong!

    Then the second thing is the strict restriction of bringing camera and mobile to the stadium. I don't know what the rules are at other grounds but I feel that we go there to capture the moments of watching the match. If they are taking away every gadget you can have to save those moments, one would feel let down.

    Since the crowd was barely present in my stand, I felt like a fool chanting for a player. Therefore in that,my excitement went away quickly and so I left the ground ASAP.

    Finally, the stadium is in Mohali. I live in Chandigarh. Since I couldn't take my mobile it was pretty tough for to manage going back. Now why would I take the pain again if I am not capturing any moment to save my experience?

  • fununlimited on October 20, 2008, 9:10 GMT

    Sitting uncovered under the hot sun in India can be intolerable for a lot of people. I don't blame the public for not showing up. With the amount of money the BCCI is making, they can surely invest some of it to make the grounds more conducive to people sitting and watching for long periods. Because if this series doesn't attract Indian crowds, no other series can.

  • cricket_wins on October 20, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    As far as my limited experience in watching test cricket is concerned, I believe that Chennai, my hometown, has been reduced to a joke. From being one of the most coveted venues for tests in India, it is sadly and ironically remembered for rains. The crowds in Chennai, apart from being very supporting and knowledgeable, are true lovers of the game, and it puzzles Chennaiites every year as to why the fixtures don't seem to take the MAC ground seriously. No one needs to say anything about Chennai - look at the history of matches played in Chennai to know it yourself.

    In the era of T20Is, test cricket if any, is an intellectual throwback - and when there are crowds to support the earliest format of cricket, the BCCI must do something before tests become extinct.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • cricket_wins on October 20, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    As far as my limited experience in watching test cricket is concerned, I believe that Chennai, my hometown, has been reduced to a joke. From being one of the most coveted venues for tests in India, it is sadly and ironically remembered for rains. The crowds in Chennai, apart from being very supporting and knowledgeable, are true lovers of the game, and it puzzles Chennaiites every year as to why the fixtures don't seem to take the MAC ground seriously. No one needs to say anything about Chennai - look at the history of matches played in Chennai to know it yourself.

    In the era of T20Is, test cricket if any, is an intellectual throwback - and when there are crowds to support the earliest format of cricket, the BCCI must do something before tests become extinct.

  • fununlimited on October 20, 2008, 9:10 GMT

    Sitting uncovered under the hot sun in India can be intolerable for a lot of people. I don't blame the public for not showing up. With the amount of money the BCCI is making, they can surely invest some of it to make the grounds more conducive to people sitting and watching for long periods. Because if this series doesn't attract Indian crowds, no other series can.

  • Shikhar_TheGreat on October 20, 2008, 9:55 GMT

    Well hello all. I just came back from the match. Reached there at 11 and came back at 1:30. The problems I felt was that it was a pretty sunny day. The weather in Chandigarh before the 17th oct. seemed beautiful and even scared of an irresistible cold. Guess I was wrong!

    Then the second thing is the strict restriction of bringing camera and mobile to the stadium. I don't know what the rules are at other grounds but I feel that we go there to capture the moments of watching the match. If they are taking away every gadget you can have to save those moments, one would feel let down.

    Since the crowd was barely present in my stand, I felt like a fool chanting for a player. Therefore in that,my excitement went away quickly and so I left the ground ASAP.

    Finally, the stadium is in Mohali. I live in Chandigarh. Since I couldn't take my mobile it was pretty tough for to manage going back. Now why would I take the pain again if I am not capturing any moment to save my experience?

  • Aswin_ganesh on October 20, 2008, 10:03 GMT

    Mr. Bindra, I would like to first know what BCCI is doing with all the money. Being the richest cricket board in the world, I think they can even afford to renovate all the cricket stadiums in the country, then why this pathetic situation. Maybe the BCCI thinks that we, the spectators, are only money bags. Maybe that's why the BCCI seems to ignore the basic amenities for cricket matches inspite the concerns. Instead of writing this article, why don;t you carry this issue to Mr.Sharad Powar or Modi??? Maybe those people will have an answer. Mr.Bindra, please don't ask us questions whose answers are so obvious. People in BCCI are interested only in making money and the methods used to gain more money.

  • Nagi_von_NJ on October 20, 2008, 10:31 GMT

    I think with the popularity of Test Cricket being where it is - at the bottom of the formats - at least for the most layman fan of the game should return to where it started - the 4 or 5 major venues.

    The crowds will still come and it will be sustainable and most importantly the cricketers themselves will feel like playing their best in these matches. So let us go back to Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Delhi as primary venues and of course have Kanpur and Bangalore in the mix. We certainly had more people in the stands at Bangalore.

    The theory of other venues not having an opportunity to witness top class cricket is taken care of IPL and ICL and other major domestic matches. By the way Test cricket is still played at the major places in England, West Indies and Australia.

  • ennarvi on October 20, 2008, 11:09 GMT

    I guess in these days of T20, no one is interested in Test cricket barring in major metros, like Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. Even Delhi will not be having that much turnout I am sure. I went to watch the first test for 2 days, i.e. on Friday and Saturday at Chinnaswamy. Friday was half full, approx 20-25000 where as Saturday was great, ground almost full. But this test is not even 25,000 combining all these 4 days I guess! Scheduling also is important. They should start a test on Thursday or Friday so that they get a good turnout on weekends. This series is good in that regard, but the other series starts on main weekdays, starting on Mondays, Tuesdays and ending by weekend. Absolutely ridiculous schedule. Who will go to watch test match if all days run on weekdays? No body will go, and eventually it will be dead.

  • edmundpw on October 20, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    I went to the last Test Match at the PCA stadium in Mohali - against England in March 2006. The crowds were similar for that match and then everyone was blaming the high ticket prices - I paid 800 rupees for a five-day pass, but that was for the Chair Stand. Tickets were cheaper for the terraces. The facilities were tolerable (compared to the other Indian grounds I have visited - Feroz Shah Kotla and Wankhede), though poor by international standards. Of course journalists and the media have the benefit of far superior facilities compared to the rest of us. My own view is that the stadium at Mohali is tough going for a spectator at a Test Match, which is played through the heat of the height of the day. Much easier for a T20 match that only lasts three and a half hours or an ODI which is more likely to be played as a day-nighter, under lights. Provision of cover from the sun and allowing spectators to bring in their mobile phones, plus their own refreshments would help.

  • Radomir on October 20, 2008, 12:16 GMT

    This is very interesting that in India, the place supposedly of cricket fanatics where it is almost a religion, the crowds are the most pitiful. Only the West Indies has a worse attendance. I live in Perth and every year the WACA is getting more and more packed, tickets are becoming more scarce and the test cricket crowds are coming in huge numbers despite having to put up with the some of hottest weather in Australia and some of the least exciting days of Test cricket. I think a few reasons for why the crowds aren't turning up would be the inconvinience required to get there. I mean just reading what people have said, for me I, If I happened to live in Mohali, that would be the first thing that would put me off. This is the most exciting series of Test Cricket since the 2005/06 ashes and we are getting very poor crowds. What does this say??

  • viks23 on October 20, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    Agree with all posters; All I'll say to Mr Bindra is dont treat people like cattle and you might see a few more. Actually, Mr. Pawar, Modi and their cronies should spend an entire day watching a test (which due to the lack of people is actually a better experience) and an ODI as normal customers to get the true experience. One would think that being politicians, they would believe in listening to the people .. sadly that is never the case.

  • S_Sen on October 20, 2008, 12:44 GMT

    Overzealous security arrangements are a total killjoy, and in that regard Indian Test match venues are like American airports. It would be impractical to replicate the relaxed, beer-fueled atmosphere of English or Australian crowds in India (because drunken Indians are even more obnoxious than drunken Brits and Aussies, and yes, that IS possible), but surely there are ways of making it less stressful to go to the ground? Since the revenue comes from television anyway, why not make admission free, or charge a token amount? Do away with the idiotic water-bottle rules, provide covered stands, make snacks and soft drinks easier to find. And keep the Tests in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Bangalore.