India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad March 3, 2013

Pity the paying public

The way Indian cricket treats spectators is depressing and a travesty of the times
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Watching cricket at Indian grounds has become less harrowing in the past few years, but the experience still tests your love for the game.

Since ESPNcricinfo is not considered worthy of media accreditation by the BCCI I have done a fair bit of cricket watching from the stands and, as a consequence, I have stayed acquainted with the reality. Press boxes provide the comfort and tools to do the job but, cordoned off from the noise and the colour, it is a relatively sterile experience. In the rest of the world, where we are welcome to report on cricket from the press box, I always make a point to catch a few sessions from the stands. It is invariably more enjoyable.

It's come a fair way since the days of cement benches and lone ticket counters. Most Indian Test grounds now have bucket seats and, in most cases, you can buy tickets online. During the IPL, the franchise owners - for whom attendance is a crucial component of the revenue - even court the fans. But that fundamental change of mindset is yet to filter down to most of the state associations that host India's international matches.

The ongoing Test between India and Australia is the second of the season in Hyderabad, a city that hasn't lost its grace and old-world charm despite the onslaught of consumerism. This Test was granted to Hyderabad because the facilities for the players at the Green Park ground in Kanpur were deemed unfit. But do facilities for spectators even count?

The new stadium is barely six years old. It is 40 minutes away from the city as opposed to the old Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium, which was bang in the middle. Lack of space in the city is a genuine problem, but what accounts for the lack of thought? That the construction makes no allowances for aesthetics can be put down to a matter of taste but absence of consideration for spectators can only be put down callousness.

The word stakeholder is used in nauseating regularity by sports administrators around the world, eager to establish that sport is an enterprise and that they mean business. But how often does the definition of this term extend to include spectators?

I didn't buy my ticket. I couldn't have. I had left it till the last and, even though there were empty seats at the ground, the first day was officially sold out. This is true of many grounds in the world, and particularly so in India where the recipients of vast quantities of complimentary passes simply don't turn up.

Only last week, I had been forwarded a letter to the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association by Mina Anand, advocate by profession and cricket fan by identity. She stood in a queue at the ticket counter for nearly two hours on the second day of the Chennai Test only to return disappointed when the tickets were sold out in ten minutes. When she got home Tendulkar was batting on television but what caught her eye was the rows of empty seats in the stands. Hopes raised, she returned to the ground at lunch only to be told that those seats belonged to the sponsors.

She made sure she got in the next day: she left home at 4 am to make sure she was among the first ones in the queue. Which takes us to the first sentence of this piece: wanting to watch cricket from the stands in India does test your love for the game.

The night before the first day of the Hyderabad Test, I met a group of students from the Indian School of Business, among them a former colleague from ESPNcricinfo. They were fortunate to have secured tickets online in one of the better parts of the ground. But they still had to leave home before 7 am for play that started at 9.30 am - because the online tickets could only be picked up in the morning from the middle of the city, about 25 kilometers from their campus, before travelling 20 more to the ground. A ticket collection centre near the ground? That would make it too easy and that would be too much common sense.

I met the students again at the ground. They wore the same harried look as I did. Like me, they had encountered trouble at the first of many checkpoints: mobile phones had been banned. I was told that it was in the fine print on the ticket that I had picked up on the way to the ground, and the security guards, with utmost politeness and with folded hands, pointed to the signage at the gate.

It was part of the tightening of the security process after the recent bomb blasts in the city. But why mobile phones, I asked?

"Don't you know they can be used as a triggering device?"

"But how would a bomb get in to the ground?"

India, we are breathlessly told, now boasts of 43 international grounds. Can a dozen not be found where spectators aren't subjected to melting under the sun? Or can money not be found to put roofs over every inch of the grounds where spectators are expected to spend 45 hours over five days?

He smiled, pointing out that I also couldn't carry my pen. I didn't bother to ask what threat a pen posed.

Of course, there was no facility to deposit the cell phone at the ground. One of the security officers suggested I go back to my hotel and return later. "It's a Test match, you have a lot of time."

Quantity has superseded efficiency in the classical Indian approach to security. As Aakar Patel recently wrote in a no-nonsense piece, the layers of security at Indian airports seem to suggest a basic lack of trust in these very layers. There was no point in remonstrating with the security at the stadium. They were almost apologetic, and they were merely following instructions of someone who had got wise to the point of stupidity after the terrorists had done their job.

I was lucky that I knew people in the press box and that journalists were allowed to take their phones in. A friend came down and took custody of my phone and I merely had to pass through three more checks before taking my seat, almost behind the sightscreen.

It was only when I looked around that I realised how fortunate I was. The biggest stands at the ground were to my left and my right. And they were open to the elements. Fans in some parts of the world welcome roofless stands because the sun feels nice in New Zealand and England. There are grass banks in South Africa and Australia that are open. But the only possible explanation for leaving fans under the sun in India could be to give them a taste of the conditions the players endure in the middle.

India, we are breathlessly told, now boasts of 43 international grounds. Indeed there are some excellent new stadiums in India. Facilities at Bangalore have got better, Chennai has become excellent as has the Wankhede. Care has been taken to get rid of the pillars that obstruct view and build adequate toilets. So can a dozen not be found where spectators aren't subjected to melting under the sun? Or can money not be found to put roofs over every inch of the grounds where spectators are expected spend 45 hours over five days. And can the non-negotiable terms for certifying a ground to be worthy of international cricket not include basic spectator comfort?

To watch fans stream in to watch Test cricket over the weekend lifted the spirits, but to watch them seek shelter from the sun with their handkerchiefs was depressing.

Why can't cricket take care of those who sustain it with their love?

In which other business is the consumer not the king?

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Sambit, the stadium as you said is far away from the city, and if one chooses to drive a bike just to escape the city traffic, you are not allowed to take your helmet inside and you cannot keep it anywhere else. "Keep it at your own risk" this is the standard reply. There is no provision for paid parking for two wheelers. I was lucky to get the tickets for the covered stand on the 1st day but there was no drinking water except in the corporate boxes for most part of the day. The 2nd day was a little better but I couldn't get the desired seats. Food and drinks were sold well above the MRP or the rate chart. On the 2nd day a packet of buttermilk, which could protect someone from sun stroke was sold for 15/- as against the 10/- MRP being sold on the 1st day. Noone to monitor, the vendor fixes the prices depending on the demand and you have no choice but to oblige. I somehow felt, the vendor is the king. Poor spectator with poor facilities cab only be pitied in a few articles like these.

  • POSTED BY SREENGP on | March 4, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    A wonderful piece. The apathy of the spectators are brought out by a very few and its nice to note that there is somebody who does notes all these things. Even the sale of tickets to better stands are not at all transparent and this aspect needs to be highlighted. The better stands are all sold either to the sponsors or the members who rarely turn up. Most of the members give away their tikcets to their near and dears who are seldom interested in the sport. often the members flaunt their tickets to show their status that they do get members tickets for an international cricket match. All sales should be on line and at least 70% of the capacity seats should be on sale for the general public and exchange of tickets for those who have booked online should be at the stadium and not at a place in the midst of the city. Seconldy the security harrassment being heaped on the public should come to a stop and there should be reasonable scouting and we need to take lessons on this.

  • POSTED BY mihir009 on | March 4, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    Sambit .. you are bang on. I would love to watch matches on the ground & have travelled a few times to do so as my city (Bhopal) doesn't host matches. My last such experience in India was at a India-Pak. One-Day game at Gwalior around 4 yrs ago. We were seated in the Pavilion .. next to the VIP Pavilion which seated the CM, other state Politicians, Board Members etc. The ground is good, seating was comfortable but there was no provision for any amenities like Water or snacks in hot Gwalior summer where temp. could be around 40oC. We were not allowed to carry even water, forget cameras or mobiles. If they are not allowing us to carry basic things ... atleast provide them. All those with me swore never to watch a match at an Indian stadium again. I then went for 2 sessions of a Aus-SA test at the Wanderers in 2011 and must say the experience was amazing. The atmosphere was relaxed with excellent facilities for spectators & cost of the Pavilion day tkt. - princely R50/- (about Rs. 350/-)

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Thank you Bahl for ur candid views on the facilities at the Cricket stadiums in INDIA . But the spectators are also equally responsible for creating chaos inside the stadiums like throwing bottles and other missiles in the ground. No doubt the genuine fans are really affected by this high authoritativeness of the Police. The shades in the stadiums are very much essential to avoid the heat from the scorching sun, especially during Feb/March onwards in South India. In the name of security, the genuine fans are denied the basic amenities like drinking water, food and even mobile phones. No doubt the State governments are responsible for the maintenance of law and order at the stadiums. But BCCI can step in and talk to the police authorities etc., and ask them to stop the non-sense like not allowing phones etc., When you cry from the rooftop saying spectator interest is waning, you have to take steps to allow genuine fans to watch cricket inside the stadiums.

  • POSTED BY Paddle_Sweep on | March 4, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Excellent article. I wanted to watch the 3rd day of the Ind-Aus test match. I went to Chepauk around 1:00 P.M. I seriously was not able to find as to where the tickets were being sold. There were no signboards, nobody to help the common public. I was told that all the tickets are sold out. I cam back home disappointed and started watching the match on TV. I was surprised to find that almost 40% of the seats was vacant. Was really disappointed. Lot of TV commentators complain about the lack of spectator presence in the ground for test matches. The issue is not to do with spectator's interest in test matches. The issue is with administrators interest to get the spectators onto the ground.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Bravo Sambit.This article reflects the agony and pain of an indian fan.i live here in the US but still follow the game ardently.i inherited the love for the game from my dad who had the opportunity to watch the game for the first 2 days.i was jealous first that i wasn't there but then i was happy that my dad will finally get to see the great Sachin. But how disappointed he was,when i called.he enjoyed the game, but he was furious at the facilities and the treatment.he wasn't allowed to carry a "chap stick and his comb.how dumb is that?? he is 65 and he cant carry his mobile.he was denied permission to use the bath room because they were locked and wont open until 925 am when he reached the stadium at 830am to get a better seat.water is served in glasses for 20 rs we went to the US open semis here in NY with 23 K capacity and he knows the difference of watching a sporting spectacle guess what, he is going again tomorrow.life of a Indian cricket fan.any one listening? taken for granted?

  • POSTED BY Justanaussiefan on | March 4, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    I'm an Aussie enjoying my first Aus-India test matches in India. I was at Chennai, and Hyderabad compared horribly. The phone issue was only the first problem- when we arrived on day one (we were sitting with shade albeit) I had my water confiscated at the gate. I was told it could be used to throw at the players. Ironically there was enough building rubble in the space behind the stands to use something much more malicious had I been there to throw stuff!

    I learnt at first drinks break that there were NO drinks for sale. No water. No soft drink. There were probably 5,000 spectators in my stand who weren't allowed to bring water. The drinks arrived, by way of 6 20L bottles, after lunch, and spectators were forced to share cups as they'd forgotten that too. The water lasted about 10 minutes. Food was the same. Rice would arrive by way of 20 trays at a time, and were snapped up in less than 2 mins.

    Disappointingly, the BCCI obviously only cares about TV rights and not the live crowd..

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Well-said. The same was the case in Chennai too, except for the heat. The nearby Marina beach provided a cooling effect. I managed to get tickets on the second day, thanks to my instinct to spot black-marketers from a distance. Cellphones were allowed inside, but I had to leave my camera in the custody of an unknown housekeeping lady. She happened to be a gem. She waited for me and returned the camera after the day's play. They won't allow food packets or water cans from outside. Fair enough - had they arranged sufficient outlets to provide food and water. There was a stall on the leg side, and one on the offside. That was all. Don't know about the straight boundaries. It was like a typical test match field placement. One 300 ml glass of Slice cost even up to Rs.40. Even if you were ready to pay that, you need to have good jostling skills to reach at the counter of these stalls. The only people who suffered worse than the spectators were the Australian cricketers.

  • POSTED BY UJ_Sydney on | March 4, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    A very good synopsis of what it is like watching a Test match! But, I would extrapolate it to say that such high-handedness by police and so-called administrators rules our society everywhere. It's like using antibiotics for even a headache. Not allowing people to take cameras, phones, water and food is foolish to say the least. Unfortunately, there is nobody to question those who make such stupid rules, because that would be politically incorrect. If you were to stand up to these high-handedness, they would be called irresponsible and not realising that law and order is paramount. God help us! (if we can against these so-called defender of law and order)

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    I've often dreamed of watching a major Test Match series in India but this article has cured me. I thought spectators in England were treated badly but some of these stories are staggering. It's amazing anyone turns up.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Sambit, the stadium as you said is far away from the city, and if one chooses to drive a bike just to escape the city traffic, you are not allowed to take your helmet inside and you cannot keep it anywhere else. "Keep it at your own risk" this is the standard reply. There is no provision for paid parking for two wheelers. I was lucky to get the tickets for the covered stand on the 1st day but there was no drinking water except in the corporate boxes for most part of the day. The 2nd day was a little better but I couldn't get the desired seats. Food and drinks were sold well above the MRP or the rate chart. On the 2nd day a packet of buttermilk, which could protect someone from sun stroke was sold for 15/- as against the 10/- MRP being sold on the 1st day. Noone to monitor, the vendor fixes the prices depending on the demand and you have no choice but to oblige. I somehow felt, the vendor is the king. Poor spectator with poor facilities cab only be pitied in a few articles like these.

  • POSTED BY SREENGP on | March 4, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    A wonderful piece. The apathy of the spectators are brought out by a very few and its nice to note that there is somebody who does notes all these things. Even the sale of tickets to better stands are not at all transparent and this aspect needs to be highlighted. The better stands are all sold either to the sponsors or the members who rarely turn up. Most of the members give away their tikcets to their near and dears who are seldom interested in the sport. often the members flaunt their tickets to show their status that they do get members tickets for an international cricket match. All sales should be on line and at least 70% of the capacity seats should be on sale for the general public and exchange of tickets for those who have booked online should be at the stadium and not at a place in the midst of the city. Seconldy the security harrassment being heaped on the public should come to a stop and there should be reasonable scouting and we need to take lessons on this.

  • POSTED BY mihir009 on | March 4, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    Sambit .. you are bang on. I would love to watch matches on the ground & have travelled a few times to do so as my city (Bhopal) doesn't host matches. My last such experience in India was at a India-Pak. One-Day game at Gwalior around 4 yrs ago. We were seated in the Pavilion .. next to the VIP Pavilion which seated the CM, other state Politicians, Board Members etc. The ground is good, seating was comfortable but there was no provision for any amenities like Water or snacks in hot Gwalior summer where temp. could be around 40oC. We were not allowed to carry even water, forget cameras or mobiles. If they are not allowing us to carry basic things ... atleast provide them. All those with me swore never to watch a match at an Indian stadium again. I then went for 2 sessions of a Aus-SA test at the Wanderers in 2011 and must say the experience was amazing. The atmosphere was relaxed with excellent facilities for spectators & cost of the Pavilion day tkt. - princely R50/- (about Rs. 350/-)

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Thank you Bahl for ur candid views on the facilities at the Cricket stadiums in INDIA . But the spectators are also equally responsible for creating chaos inside the stadiums like throwing bottles and other missiles in the ground. No doubt the genuine fans are really affected by this high authoritativeness of the Police. The shades in the stadiums are very much essential to avoid the heat from the scorching sun, especially during Feb/March onwards in South India. In the name of security, the genuine fans are denied the basic amenities like drinking water, food and even mobile phones. No doubt the State governments are responsible for the maintenance of law and order at the stadiums. But BCCI can step in and talk to the police authorities etc., and ask them to stop the non-sense like not allowing phones etc., When you cry from the rooftop saying spectator interest is waning, you have to take steps to allow genuine fans to watch cricket inside the stadiums.

  • POSTED BY Paddle_Sweep on | March 4, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Excellent article. I wanted to watch the 3rd day of the Ind-Aus test match. I went to Chepauk around 1:00 P.M. I seriously was not able to find as to where the tickets were being sold. There were no signboards, nobody to help the common public. I was told that all the tickets are sold out. I cam back home disappointed and started watching the match on TV. I was surprised to find that almost 40% of the seats was vacant. Was really disappointed. Lot of TV commentators complain about the lack of spectator presence in the ground for test matches. The issue is not to do with spectator's interest in test matches. The issue is with administrators interest to get the spectators onto the ground.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Bravo Sambit.This article reflects the agony and pain of an indian fan.i live here in the US but still follow the game ardently.i inherited the love for the game from my dad who had the opportunity to watch the game for the first 2 days.i was jealous first that i wasn't there but then i was happy that my dad will finally get to see the great Sachin. But how disappointed he was,when i called.he enjoyed the game, but he was furious at the facilities and the treatment.he wasn't allowed to carry a "chap stick and his comb.how dumb is that?? he is 65 and he cant carry his mobile.he was denied permission to use the bath room because they were locked and wont open until 925 am when he reached the stadium at 830am to get a better seat.water is served in glasses for 20 rs we went to the US open semis here in NY with 23 K capacity and he knows the difference of watching a sporting spectacle guess what, he is going again tomorrow.life of a Indian cricket fan.any one listening? taken for granted?

  • POSTED BY Justanaussiefan on | March 4, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    I'm an Aussie enjoying my first Aus-India test matches in India. I was at Chennai, and Hyderabad compared horribly. The phone issue was only the first problem- when we arrived on day one (we were sitting with shade albeit) I had my water confiscated at the gate. I was told it could be used to throw at the players. Ironically there was enough building rubble in the space behind the stands to use something much more malicious had I been there to throw stuff!

    I learnt at first drinks break that there were NO drinks for sale. No water. No soft drink. There were probably 5,000 spectators in my stand who weren't allowed to bring water. The drinks arrived, by way of 6 20L bottles, after lunch, and spectators were forced to share cups as they'd forgotten that too. The water lasted about 10 minutes. Food was the same. Rice would arrive by way of 20 trays at a time, and were snapped up in less than 2 mins.

    Disappointingly, the BCCI obviously only cares about TV rights and not the live crowd..

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Well-said. The same was the case in Chennai too, except for the heat. The nearby Marina beach provided a cooling effect. I managed to get tickets on the second day, thanks to my instinct to spot black-marketers from a distance. Cellphones were allowed inside, but I had to leave my camera in the custody of an unknown housekeeping lady. She happened to be a gem. She waited for me and returned the camera after the day's play. They won't allow food packets or water cans from outside. Fair enough - had they arranged sufficient outlets to provide food and water. There was a stall on the leg side, and one on the offside. That was all. Don't know about the straight boundaries. It was like a typical test match field placement. One 300 ml glass of Slice cost even up to Rs.40. Even if you were ready to pay that, you need to have good jostling skills to reach at the counter of these stalls. The only people who suffered worse than the spectators were the Australian cricketers.

  • POSTED BY UJ_Sydney on | March 4, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    A very good synopsis of what it is like watching a Test match! But, I would extrapolate it to say that such high-handedness by police and so-called administrators rules our society everywhere. It's like using antibiotics for even a headache. Not allowing people to take cameras, phones, water and food is foolish to say the least. Unfortunately, there is nobody to question those who make such stupid rules, because that would be politically incorrect. If you were to stand up to these high-handedness, they would be called irresponsible and not realising that law and order is paramount. God help us! (if we can against these so-called defender of law and order)

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    I've often dreamed of watching a major Test Match series in India but this article has cured me. I thought spectators in England were treated badly but some of these stories are staggering. It's amazing anyone turns up.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    Thanks for writing on this apathy. I have just returned home watching the 2nd day of the test. The conditions in the stadium were horrible. Thousands of spectators had to watch the match in the hot sun. Many people got sun strokes today and few of my friends returned home unable to bear the heat. I have taken medicine to recover as I had a terrible headache sitting in the hot sun. What's worse, the drinking water supply was cut after tea. No water bottles allowed. We really had a harrowing experience. People with mobile phones were thrown away from the line near security check and there was no cloak room where you can keep your belongings. Utterly terribly disappointed with today's experience. Things like these will drive away the spectators from coming to the stadium to watch the game. Hope the administrators realize this and make changes as soon as possible.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    Samit, Thanks for writing this. I was thinking since long, why not anyone pointing situation of fans in the ground ? I live in Ahmedabad and I went to watch Ind Vs Aus quarterfinal match of WC 2011, which was played here in Ahmedabad. Even before first inning ends, food and tea in the stand were finished. I was there in the stands for more than 10 hours, without any food.

  • POSTED BY challagalla on | March 5, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    Right on Sambit. I stopped watching cricket live about 20 years back simply because of an horrendous experience at the old Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium. In an age where railways accept etickets on your cell phone imagine these guys expect you to change your online booking to a paper ticket 20 klms from the stadium. Ridiculous. I know the new stadium at Uppal is a major improvement on the old one , yet my children tell me its not a pleasent experience. Parking is a major hassle , food is another and simply passing through the layers of security is another.

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | March 5, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    Nice piece. I think it's another variance on the theme of sports administrators becoming more and more divorced from the game's enthusiasts, who they are meant to support. It's not so dissimilar in mindset from say Giles Clarke, who believes that the single biggest threat to cricket is illegal streaming. Mr Clarke has expertly identified a group of people who are so enthusiastic about a struggling sport that they will go to great lengths to watch and enjoy it when it is not available to them by conventional means, and instead of embracing them and finding a way to reach out, he's busy branding them as criminals and trying to give them the boot. I wonder if that definition includes Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain who recently tweeted a request for a streaming link when he couldn't watch his team play! Administrators around the world are doing a poor job of serving the fans

  • POSTED BY yogikanna on | March 4, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    It is absolutely ridiculous that "ESPNcricinfo is not considered worthy of media accreditation by the BCCI". ESPNcricinfo is so widely read, why would the BCCI discriminate against it? Anyways, something good came out of it, Samit got to endure the difficulties faced by Indian spectators and write about it. I am still apalled by the fact that the BCCI and the IPL Franchise are willing to shell out millions of dollars on Players, while they shy away from spending any money on basic infrastructure and amenities for the paying public. That said the only two test matches I have watched were in Chennai Chepauk Stadium and both were pleasant experiences; but I got luck as I received free tickets from sponsors, and the stadium was so empty that we got to pick really good seats.

  • POSTED BY YoBro on | March 4, 2013, 21:36 GMT

    This takes me way down memory lane to a day long time ago in Dec 1987, when as an 8 year old, my dad, who was a loyal fan of the WI team and Viv Richards in particular, took me with him on his motorcycle to watch the tourists play the Board President's XI at the Indira Priyadarshini Stadium, Visakhapatnam. I was so excited that day because it was the first time I was going on an 'outing' with my dad (and what's more, he reserved this occasion exclusively for me - my sister was left to stay home with my mom!). But as the day wore on, in barely a couple of hours, I distinctly remember feeling disillusioned by the scorching heat and the rest I don't remember. My dad told me later that I fell asleep on his lap because of the heat. It saddens me that, 25 years later, nothing has changed.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    Very nice article Sambit! One addition, watching cricket or officiating cricket under the sun is way tougher than actually playing cricket where you run around the field. Trust me the spectators undergo ridiculous conditions sitting on those stands where it feels like the sun eats into your system. I remember watching Harbhajan get 90 of his century, but that was the most torrid experience I ever had on a cricket ground just because this modern newly constructed stadium forgot to consider the element which completes an international cricket match - 'the spectators'!

  • POSTED BY HyderabadiFlick on | March 4, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    I have watched 3 days of the test match and going to the 4th day and expecting hot sun and I pity the people who stand on the square boundary stands of the stadium, no mercy from the sun and of course the way people are treated in India is much to be desired. I have been to a couple of Baseball and American football games in the U.S. and sometimes I feel if BCCI is really the richest board in the world at the moment. For the test match we are not allowed to take water inside nor they sell the water inside. we had to drink the tap water on all 3 days and had a difficult time keeping our self hydrated.And I surely pity the people sitting on the square boundary stands where the man supporting Sachin was standing.There was a time I felt very sad for them that I'm sitting in the shade and no issues for me. These things make you feel guilty even without you being the culprit - God Bless BCCI & Indian cricket.

  • POSTED BY Sudhir65 on | March 4, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    The conclusion and saddest part of the story is that Indian authorities can not even do simple things right. Or perhaps they do not want to.

  • POSTED BY Smithie on | March 4, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    Can cricket lovers expect the courtesy of a response from Mr Srinivasan?

  • POSTED BY ToTellUTheTruth on | March 4, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    India shining...with the glistening of the fried citizens in those stands. Never will watch a game at the stadium in India. I went to England to watch a test match between India and England, but couldn't care less to attend a single day's play (be a test or a odi). The one and only time I tried, we were lathi charged. After spending good amount of money on our tickets, we came home with bruises from the police. BCCI couldn't care less about the spectators. They are busy with nitpicking fights with media outlets such as Cricinfo. They would rather show their muscle than use the same to protect their most valued asset....the paying publich. Shame on HCA.

  • POSTED BY Jack_India on | March 4, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    The big money is with the Television rights. Why would the 40k spectators be given importance when they have already reached over a billion by Satellite?

  • POSTED BY srisri on | March 4, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    Everyone knows BBCI financial situation. How can it afford roofs in cricket stadiums? Poor BCCI;)

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 15:52 GMT

    Thank you Sambit on voicing opinion on behalf of all of us. Watched first two of match under Sun and I was surprised when I saw some temporary tents today when entered the stadium. I think HCA arranged those tents after finding your article in Cricinfo. Thank you so much for your valuable opinion on mandatory facilities that every cricket ground should have and I firmly believe that HCA will address this issue.

  • POSTED BY srbh99 on | March 4, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    Ah! the pain of the paying public. Reminded me of a lathi charge at the Kotla. Think it was Diwali of 94'. Kambli belting the NZ bowlers & us poor college students, genuine ticket holders, being belted by the infamous Delhi Police.

    Based on what Sambit wrote,wonder if one can go to a consumer court and file a complaint. Also form a serious spectators association that can engage with the administrators of the game for their long forgotten rights!

  • POSTED BY SasiGladi on | March 4, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    It is one of the worst stadium, it is dust everywhere cant use the toilets low quality and high cost food.....drinking water in dispensable glasses after lunch those glasses are also gone.....almost I got the feeling of sitting on a seat surrounded by garbage they dont even bothered to sweep the floor...on top police guys they were much relaxed much interested in watching match...they stood pretended to be working only when thier higher officials came for round....

  • POSTED BY big_al_81 on | March 4, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    Cracking article. Just a shame that the people in power won't read it as you point out they're not interested enough in this popular source of cricket news to offer it accreditation for matches...

  • POSTED BY wbyeats on | March 4, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    One of the best articles I have read in cricinfo, ever. It is really staggering to note some of the points you make about stadium facilities. I remember traveling to Cuttack in the nineties with family while the West Indies were touring India and some complementary passes came our way. Though it was November, it was still quite humid and not very comfortable overall. We had a few women in our group and walla there was not a single women's restroom to be found in the entire stadium. Not a single Ladies toilet!!! Can you imagine the ordeal? Being from Kolkata, I remember the walks we used to take to get to Eden Gardens. It would be a 40 minute walk when about 100000 people would be align simultaneously towards the stadium from having parked their cars or from the bus-stops as security and other ill-logistics had ensured that no one could near the stadium without walking a couple of miles on foot.

  • POSTED BY Hatter_Mad on | March 4, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Not exactly on topic but I remember attending a football match in Switzerland several years ago. I purchased a bottle of beer from a stall just before the entrance and managed to drink a small amout before we were funnelled into a security area just before the turnstiles. A guard frisked me and then politely told me that I couldn't take the bottle inside as it could be used as a missile. I complained and pointed out that the offending item was still nearly full. He said "no problem" and took the bottle over to a counter where he poured the contents in a plastic beaker (taking care to get a decent 'head' on the beer) and handed it back to me, saying "there, you won't be able to hurt anybody with that".

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | March 4, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    Indian supporters you have my sympathy.

    No wonder grounds in India are half full on occasion. It seems like you guys have to run a security gauntlet to actually get into the ground. Biggest problem we face at London Tests - apart from the cost of the tickets - is not being allowed to take alcohol into the Oval.

    Why not organise a protest inside one of the worst grounds? If banners are prohibited then some other action (songs/ turning your backs on the game/ etc.) at some pre-determined point might be an idea. Should be (relatively) easy to organise via social media and might embarass the BCCI into taking some action if it were picked up by the media (TV, radio). Just a thought.

  • POSTED BY nav84 on | March 4, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    I went to the stadium on the second day. Fortunately I got tickets to the stand with a roof above. But yeah, I faced all the other problems. And worse was, Sachin did not even have to come out to bat :|

  • POSTED BY Sudhir65 on | March 4, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    It really is shocking, as the editor notes, that to make life easy for fans (such as by locating Ticket Collection center near the cricket stadium) would make it " too easy and make too much common sense".

    I am sorry to say that Indian authorities and government do not provide any kind of governance but just rule over us. They can not even be bothered to take any decisions that would make our lives easier or provide us with any kind of human dignity. It is a real shame.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    My eight year old daughter was wondering this afternoon why spectators endure the heat in the stadium, when one can simply and comfortably watch the sport on TV. I told her that being at the stadium is a fantastic experience and true cricket lovers will always go there. This article has made me think otherwise. I think all true cricket lovers should boycott such stadiums until ticketing and seating facilities are improved. Lets have 99% empty stadiums and perhaps then the arrogant authorities will see some sense.

  • POSTED BY Ankit_trivedi9 on | March 4, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Dear Bal, I deem myself lucky to get tickets for the 1st test at Chepauk on day 2 and 3 although I was in the queue at 3 am .It seems BCCI wants to earn money at any cost without serving its customers(spectators) well .This should be referred to consumer court as we pay and have the basic right to access to the most necessary needs like food,water,shelter.After all its the spectators and fans who make the game big and popular rather the board. Relevant govt. authorities should inspect each ground and certify them on basis of facilities to audience. If found unfit, they should ban such venues. But ironically, govt. cannot exercise any control over cricket and BCCI in India. The only statements we hear from politicians are congragulations to players for their individual feats or when they score a win over Pakistan. Our politicians who care and speak so much for the railway commuters have nothing to say for the pity cricket fans who generate a lot more revenue than the former .

  • POSTED BY PRGiri on | March 4, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    Just came back from the Hyd stadium after day-3. I had the scare of my life when the security guy did a mini massage of my body and screamed "I found a COMB" ... initially it sounded like "Bomb". He was actually authoritatively pleased that he could ask me to throw it away before entering the stadium. I found it very sadistic.

    When the master retires, i might retire from watching test matches in indian stadiums. I can save myself from this torture.

  • POSTED BY thegoodgame on | March 4, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Thanks Sambit, for highlighting the plight of spectators and the apathy of the organisers/administrators! In Wankhede there are toilets and canteens; why cant it be done at other stadiums as well?

  • POSTED BY ooper_cut on | March 4, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    It was nice before, but changed for the first time when I went to the ground in 2001 when mobiles, cameras, radios, anything with battery had to be left out. Even that I understood, but when they stopped us from bringing water, food, drinks etc and started charging Rs.20 for a 250 ML cup of water and terrible terrible lunches at exorbitant rates. But still it is not as bad as it is said here, at least for chennai and bangalore I can say that.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    Dear Bal....you are bang on what a cricket loving spectator has to experience. I purchased tickets for 2 days and on Sunday I was left with no seat even though I had Rs. 750/- ticket. I had to fight with the authority and finally they offered me a seat in Rs. 500/- stand. The stadium has no ticket counter and online booking costs additional charges as conveyance charges and to top it I have to pick the tickets from another spot which is around 15KM from the stadium. They do not allow water and do not provide them either. Food is pathetic to say the least. In-spite of lack of facilities cricket authorities expect a cricket fan to come to stadium. They complain that the interest of the game is going down. I would like to say that we have not lost interest in watching cricket but lost faith in the governing authority who care nothing about paying public. Please improve watching experience and people are ready to come to stadium.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    Hope BCCI is reading this article. Bull's eye article.

  • POSTED BY anuradha_d on | March 4, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Dear Bal...those listed by your are typical issues to the Indian....culture prevalent in public administration......to feign surprise, anger or frustration at this is Naive

  • POSTED BY Marif4 on | March 4, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Excellent Sambit, you pointed out a very good point. BCCI is only looking for the money not for the public. All the cricket giant should take this matter up & should not leave until & unless some action is taken from BCCI. Let BCCI team mates sit in place of public for a single test & understand the situation of the cricket lover before we start hating it because of BCCI, only money making board. Even ICC should have some rules for international ground, especially for the country where summer is too hot. Sambit, please keep up your good work.

  • POSTED BY deepakbsg on | March 4, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    U HAVE HIT ON RIGHT .... but will BCCI do something about it... what is with not allowing camera and mobile... you were lucky enough to have a friend.. from my personal experience of i woudl never go watch a match from stadium... what about other who have come from far of places to watch.. cant they just create a stall to deposite the mobiles, cameras atleast?

  • POSTED BY cricrohit on | March 4, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    I'm a guy from Hyderabad who's studying in Chennai. I've never could get around to see a test match in Hyd as there have never been a lot of matches there. So it was a pretty good experience over here at chepauk for my first test match live, though i would have liked a shade over my head. Getting to know the experience at the uppal stadium i do think that it was a better experience here in chennai. But its still heartwarming to see a packed stadium in Hyderabad on a monday. The BCCI should take measures so that there won't be any empty seats inside when there are people interested to watch test cricket standing in lines outside, as it happened at Chepauk

  • POSTED BY ShyamSunderVyas on | March 4, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    Security reasons and restrictions aside, the facilities provided to the ticket buyer should be in the league of the standards in order, for the ground to be acclaimed with world class facilities. BCCI has money, they can spend. And they should. It is pity that they do not. BCCI dont procrastinate, do something for us also.

  • POSTED BY Paras.Rishi on | March 4, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    I don't care about the facilities as long as they have student passes for 100 bucks!

  • POSTED BY VernekarD on | March 4, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Sambit, thank you so much for writing this. I was lucky to find tickets through a friend at the last moment. I met a friend who was carrying his phone and had no clue where to put, lucky he met me. For people sitting at the top, the lack of a good screen meant they didn't really know what went on sometimes. You have to hand it to those guys sitting in the sun, and cheering with such enthusiasm. The BCCI takes cricket crazy indians for granted. Didn't see a lot of aussies though all these restrictions might have put them off.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    the same thing happened with me and one of my friend at dec 16th 2012, nagpur, india vs england day 4.

    Even though 50 % of the ground was vacant, there was a km long queue for tickets since 9 am.

    We had no other choice rather than buying tickets in black. we paid rs 900 for 2 single day tickets that actualy was worth of rs 200...

  • POSTED BY BlackKnight on | March 4, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    While I agree there is callousness in general when it comes to building stadiums that are spectator friendly, and BCCI should receive most of the flak for not specifying the minimum standards to the local associations that build the stadium. But please bear in mind that what the spectators can or cannot take in to the stadium is not in BCCIs's hands. It is the local government and the police which decide that. As an ardent fan who has watched matches at the stadium for two decades I can still remember the times when we would carry plenty of food and drinks in all sorts of containers to the game. Not to mention the variety of musical instruments. Everything changed for the worse since the Eden Gardens semi-final in 1996. Crowd behaviour has only become worse since then. There have been a number of incidents when players have been hit by "missiles" from the crowd. So in many ways the fans have only themselves to blame for the discomfort.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    that is typical of india where the general public is the most neglected. If you are rich in India then you can survive,otherwise you are just a stray dog for the authorities who loot your money through taxes and treat you worse than slaves. I am not surprised at the conditions since the general public is never treated good in india. The value of a person's life is the worst among developing countries and we have gotten frustrated by the attitude of various types of authorities. But we can't do anything since we live in a democracy. I like what Raghavan Venugopal mentioned, let Sachin retire and then you would see empty grounds in test matches. The BCCI doesnt understand the love and reverence people have 4 SRT. But they will understand it once they conduct test matches like Ranji. No one to watch. Most of the spectators bore the brunt just to have a glimpse of their God. Banning Mobile phones,water bottles and food?This is inhumane. But when wer the Indian authorities considered human?

  • POSTED BY Hyderabadi_Nawab on | March 4, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    I am from Hyderabad and the last time I visited a ground in my hometown to watch a cricket match was in 1986, Ind vs Aus with Azhar being the flavour of the season. To my shock and disappointment I actually saw ruffians and thugs actually scale the wall at Lal Bahadur stadium and get in while I a pre-teen along with my grandfather holding valid tickets was asked to scram by lathi wielding constabulary. The experience left such a deep impact on my impressionable mind that to this day I can't think of going to a stadium in India and watching a match. Contrast that with my first experience of Boxing day test 2011 Ind vs Aus at the MCG - what a feeling, I felt like a KING being ushered to a family area along with my wife and 6 year old - i think this story says a lot as to which associations favour whom.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    I was there on the ground for day 1&2 @ Hyd and here is my experience-I had Rs500 ticket in A3 stand and I can tell you that the seats here are so dirty that your pant goes straight to the dry cleaner as soon as you return. Luckily, A3 stand is shaded from the sun the whole day but the rest of the facilities are really bad. There is muck and dirt all around and you have to drink water from a shady looking cooler in plastic tumblers. Food is exorbitantly priced and the quality is really bad. I was so disgusted with the whole thing that I considered leaving but somehow like 1000s of others stayed on. I wonder about what is the state of affairs for the ones who got burnt in the sun (their check in lines were really long) in the stands of Rs100/200 prices. Finally, a word about the surroundings of the stadium. It is a dust bowl (parking is there only except to the privileged few who come in thro gate 1) and shows total apathy. I hv never seen such neglect in any other city. Deplorable

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    Nice Article..and hope the BCCI or any other party who is responsible for the managing these are going to improve the facilities. Forget about mobile phones.. I was told I can not take my HAT inside because i I might throw it inside the field. After soem arguments common sense prevailed and i was allowed to take.

    Also Test match Cricket is for 7- hrs. So there should be more facilities for food and water (Outside food is not allowed) and the food they sell inside is not edible + Expensive like hell.

    I feel only thing that still draw People to Stadium is to watch Tendulkar bat. The test cricket might not Die soon. But Unless and until the facilities are improved and once Tendulkar has retired, It will at least in India..

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Just wait for Sachin to retire and then see

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    I saw one game in India, WI vs India, will never watch a game at stadium again. Not enough food, to walk three stories down to get water, and not being able to bring food for my diabetic father, it was harrowing. NEVER AGAIN Ahmedabad stadium.

  • POSTED BY srikanths on | March 4, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    Members and patrons hoard tickets , neither watching the match nor allowing others to watch.I had also read Ms Mina Anand's piece. BCCI and local associations act as if right to a ticket is some kind of an elite class privelege and probably very little to do with interest in the game. Apart from tickets the facilities and treatment meted out ti sepctators is pathetic. You can't carry food but the queue in eateries is so big, you can hardly get something without having to rush. The guy who comes and sells drinks and eatables fleece you. I had been to Bangalore, of course a couple of years back against OZ 2010.But atloeast stands in Bangalore are all covered unlike Hyderabad. Atrocious stadium. Half the stands are not covered with a simple roof. When the whole world is trying to see what efforts are required to save Test matches, BCCI and local associations are trying their best to kill Test matches.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    Sambit Bal asks: "In which other business is the consumer not the king?" There are several, as he has mentioned airports and flying. Soon these industries (and cricket matches) will be shunned by the public. I am a die hard Cricket Fan and remember the 5 days (with a rest day in the middle) I used to enjoy watching Cricket matches in the Eden Gardens and Chepauk. Not any more. I will gladly let go of a free pavillion ticket to watch in the comfort of my home. Watch Out, my type may be in the minority today, but we will prevail.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Sambit- the stands open to the element are just the beginning. The other issue lack of amenities in the stadium , lines for everything like it was India in the 70s. I was in the ground on Sunday the vendor had run out of water before the first drinks break.The guys who were able to buy water saud the vendor was over charging - 10 rupees bottle for 50 rupees. Of course for security reasons you could not get water bottles from outside. Consumer is the kin for BCCI- except their definiton of consumer are the broadcasters and the sponsors not the guys who come to see the TV

  • POSTED BY fullawareness on | March 4, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    There is something genuinely lacking in the indian psyche that we find it difficult to show respect and value to another person. we do so only when we have to

  • POSTED BY 123cric on | March 4, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    The BCCI never care about the common public who fill their coffers.In India were the climate is hot mostly throughout the year sitting in uncovered stands directly under the sun can be a horrific experience. Though the game in this country has grown because of the passion of the common public but they at large have been left stranded. Yesterday saw people covering themselves at Hyderabad in in cardboard boxes, Banners, newspapers etc what an impression this apathy will have on the west world which consider India as a cricketing super power.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    It is an enduring shame that h ichest cricket association in the world is also the most apathetic. Fortunately for me, I have watched all my live fricket at Bangalore and the Chiinaswamy stadium has shown steady improvement over the years. Still, it cannot be compared to the experience of cricket watching at Melbourne or Lords, where its a family event. Here, I simply wouldnt dre take my wife...who knows when the loo will top working or how long one will have to stand in line to get in?

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    The administrators -- want you to understand that you are coming to watch ----- TEST cricket. That's why they are testing, you, your patience, your loyalty and your sense of disgust (how long will you suffer, before you walk out).

    This is the same all over India in govt /semi govt areas -- common sense is no longer commonly available. You cannot question, just have to endure. No mechanism exists to question it in any rational manner.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Dear friends, I just feel sad to see all of you guy's agitation and frustration. It's not just BCCI, but generally in India consumer and their needs are always ignored and they are arrogant even to provide the basic requirement of water and toilets. Restrictions on mobile phones and water bottle! Stupid, what else we can say. If BCCI I really serious they need to investigate whose stupid idea is this and do everything to prevent that happening again. It does not look like BCCI will look these issues in the near future as they are getting fatter and fatter day by day by ignoring general publics needs. The only way for us to make them listen is threaten their revenue and they will listen you for sure. Till they don't meet the consumers needs boycott every game and empty the grounds. Watch at your home to see our dear game cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    But how much of the revenue comes from stadium spectators? The biggest source will be TV sponsorships etc, they probably allow the crowd there just for the TV cameras.

    Such large scale spectator event have almost always been organized quite badly, even when spectators revenues matter. There was this incident where not only Indians, but foreign spectators from South East Asian countries going through a pretty bad experience. They had arrived in Bangalore (Palace Grounds I think) for a rock concert by Metallica or some other American metal music group and everyone had to leave their laptops, expensive music gear etc at the security checkpoints in a nearby open ground, without any sort of token or receipt. They returned back after the concert only to see many of their bags missing. Organizers do not do a good job of warning people, and there is confusion many times because the rules are not enforced. My mobile phone was allowed inside the stadium for the India-Pak T20, go figure.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    i went for the first 2 days of hyd test. its shocking that there are no lockers to keep your phones. the police even suggested that i throw away my cell phones. we sat in the west end which was melting in the sun. i thank you for writing this article

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    very good article,INFORMATIVE .i watched the India vs england test at wankhede on the 24-25 nov.we were allowed mobiles inside.just the sticks for the flags were not allowed.the problem with the harsh sun is every where but from where i sat.we were subjected to harsh sun for 1-2 hours followed by shade throughout the day .so no complaints.also the ticket collecting centers at wankhede are just at the stadium.also the stadium is in the heart of the city.Now in pune the nehru stadium in the city is not being used the stadium 40 kms from pune is now used .really sad.

  • POSTED BY ARad on | March 4, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    Excellent article. To the person who says that, given other problems in India such as poverty, this is not a big deal: WITHIN THE CONTEXT, these issues are pertinent. (I hope everyone won't adopt the same line of thinking as you. What if my little niece asks, "uncle, think about all the poor starving children in the world? Instead of that, why are you wasting your time worrying about me always leaving a piece of chewed gum on the table?") If the money generated from Cricket would otherwise go into alleviating poverty, you have a point. Besides, increased employment from additional construction and such may feed more mouths too.

  • POSTED BY mikeholmes8 on | March 4, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    "In the rest of the world, where we are welcome to report on cricket from the press box"- lol. You do make a point of cricinfo not being recognised by th BCCI. I am an Indian now settled in the US and in both the countries, Cricinfo is the one and foremost medium (online atleast) for all ardent cricket lovers. Wake up BCCI !!!! as discgusted as the others about the authorities (both BCCI and state) not spending enough on infrastructure. I wish one of the recently retired cricketing greats join in the adminstration and do soemthing about it.

  • POSTED BY on | March 4, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    Kudos to Sambit Bal and Mina Anand... The only reason cricket (like any sport) survives is the love of the followers.. The presence of the crowd cheering their teams lifts the spirit of the sports-persons. The IPL bosses have learnt that quickly. Let's hope the BCCI babus learn this hard truth quickly too..

  • POSTED BY wildnaphtha on | March 3, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    why just cricket, this malady is widespread in every aspect of Indian life. A few well-heeled politicains, actors and businessmen get all the facilities while the common man is given the short drift.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    Good one... Hope Cash rich BCCI would do something good

  • POSTED BY hakapuu on | March 3, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    I am sorry I dont really agree completely with this article. I recently watched some IPL games in stadiums which were amazing and nothing but of international standards in pune and bombay (wankhede). The same is for multiple stadiums across the country. Eventhough the ticket/food prices are high and the security is stupidly strict the spectators are well taken care of. Its way better than some years back. You have to give credit where its due. BCCI has actually invested a lot in staidums and the money is also trickling down to ranji players. Indian local cricketers are the most payed bunch as compared to anywhere in the world. Eventually this development is also going to get to other parts of India soon. Have some patience and stop the bickering/complaining. BCCI has improved a lot as compared to previous days and they are not to blame for everything!

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 23:19 GMT

    Sambit Bal: Thanks for standing up for human dignity. We now this takes a lot courage as authorities now will try to ban you from everything about cricket for making them lose their sleep:-)

    As the saying goes, people get the king they deserve, people get the stadium they deserve. If people of India think they deserve better, they can do following to prove it:

    1) Sit at home and watch the match on TV, this will send message to stadium owners. 2) Send letters to stadium owners complaining about the non existing roofs, inadequate toilets, lack of water 3) Send letters to international forums on how 25,000 people were kept without water for hours under 35C 4) Read all the security rules before going to stadium and don't complain about them. 5) Show banners during the match about non existing roofs, water, toilets so that international attention can be drawn. 6) Be ready to get harassed by authorities, babus, stadium owners, politiciansl for protesting. Remember Mahatma Gandhi

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | March 3, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    I have long cherished on my Things-To-Do-Before-I-Die list the idea of watching a Test match in India (OK, so the MCG & Sri Lanka were also on my list & have happy ticks against them, so I do try to follow through), but India has always held such an extra special appeal. Having read this damning critique of the 'facilities' & the generally unwelcome ethos found in Hyderabad, I don't think I'll make it there - not in this lifetime. I have compiled a mental dossier of the sins/ omissions/ outrages for which the BCCI is responsible. Shoddy, insulting treatment of paying customers is now added to that list. Some Indian supporters hold the BCCI in high esteem, but, faced with the reality of how they, genuine cricket enthusiasts are treated, I should imagine that the scales are beginning to fall even from their eyes. It must be the most heartless, self-serving board in the world - and there's plenty of competition out there for that accolade! Thanx for the article, Sambit.

  • POSTED BY msnsrinivas on | March 3, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    Before the second test even started, I posted a comment in this website about how unfriendly the stadium in Hyderabad is for spectators. It wasn't published but thank god now that there is a whole article about it by none other than the editor. But guess what? All of this will fall on deaf ears.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    Simple question bro - Why do you go and watch it at the stadium? Sit at home and enjoy. When people don't turn up and when the gate collection dwindles, authorities will start to think. If they don't think, doesn't matter, empty grounds all the time.

  • POSTED BY ProdigyA on | March 3, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    Thanks a lot Sambit for bringing this very important issue into focus. The clowns at HCA n BCCI have been taking the fans just too much for granted. No wonder that there is not much crowd for tests and even for people who want to get there it just not worth the hassle. Though I agree with taking enough precautionary measures because Hyd is very sensitive city but no roof in a cricket stadium in India? What r we still living in 1947.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | March 3, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    Welcome to Cricket Investment in India as perceived by the BCCI. However, they assure us that once they finish counting their money, their 1st priority is to spend some of it on spectator facilities......ok, 2nd, 1st is to line their pockets but once that is achieved.....

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    I heard that there are plans to build a tiered roof structure around the RGI stadium. It's not only about the BCCI. It eventually comes down to state association to provide the proposal to the national board. The Hyderabad Cricket Association will eventually come around because now Hyderabad is seen as a major international venue. So the funds should be channelled appropriately and ensure the passionate Hyderabadi crowds can appreciate test cricket in all its glory. We need test cricket to become HUGE in India. Test cricket is the REAL cricket. You can play all the T20s and ODIs for monetary gains, but the sport of cricket = test matches. It was breathtaking to see the wonderful crowd of Hyderabad in spite of the heat. Hats off to you my brothers and sisters.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    i registered in cricinfo just to post a comment on this article...u echoed my feelings 100%..most ppl will never turn up again to watch in uppal stadium unless bcci provides a roof...most ppl have become a roasted tukey sitting in the hot sun n many people pledged to themselves they will never watch a test match (any match during day time)at the ground... and 2 little samosas are sold for 30rs wchich is 10 times priced higher n same goes for every item...i dont know which genius comes up with these rules like no cellphone no cameras...Indian fans miss all the fun others fans all around the world are njoing due to stupid rules....hope bcci sees this article n atleast think about fans.... P.S i would see cricinfo is the only site people turn up to get details about cricket and bcci not considering them as media partners is plain stupidity on their part

  • POSTED BY svalson on | March 3, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    Sambit has raised a very valid point about security and facilities in stadium. Any one who's been to India knows how ridiculous the security procedures are. Fans only matteras long as long as they are in VIP sections of the ground.

  • POSTED BY Fine_Legs on | March 3, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    I had a terrible experience at Brabourne stadium in Mumbai recently, when India played England in a 20:20 encounter - I was turned away from the gates because I was carrying a satchel. Apparently, you can no longer put in a day's work at the office and then walk into a cricket ground to enjoy a match carrying your bag - no amount of searches is considered enough any more. I watched India play New Zealand in the very first test that was played at the Hyderabad stadium you mention, Sambit - and everything from the approach road to the exposure to the Sun, to the lack of drinking water facilities and absolutely horrible toilets added up to a terrible experience.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    Best Cricinfo piece in a long time. Here's hoping BCCI and local boards listen to this at least. Thank You Sambit Bal.

  • POSTED BY AjaySridharan on | March 3, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    Sambit - in every other business, the consumer is the King...because there is COMPETITION. Monopolies invariably mete out shabby treatment to customers. BCCI has in its name the word "control". It's not BPCI, Borad for Promotion of Cricket in India. They killed the ICL with what can only be described as predatory competitive practices...how it is not illegal is beyond reason to me. Your lament is not new..."we" the spectators have heard it before, and endured it always. What I'm looking for is ways for the spectators to bring pressure on BCCI to do something, and do it with a sense of urgency, and not feel like they are doing us a favor...like a govt official that doesn't insist on a bribe to do his job. How do you propose the spectators organize themselves to bring upon this pressure?

  • POSTED BY vivek_us on | March 3, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    The solution is simple - stop going to the grounds. As long as people put up with Mediocrity and Apathy, they feel welcome and have no reason to leave. To change minds you have to make some sacrifices. Stop going to the grounds. Vote with your wallets.

  • POSTED BY KK47 on | March 3, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    "Since ESPNcricinfo is not considered worthy of media accreditation......" statement says it all. This article is simply the case of sour grapes. I am sorry to say that Sambit who has penned down really good articles before is just taking down his frustration against BCCI. I have been to many matches in Chinnaswamy over the past 10 years and clearly there has been vast improvements in facilities to spectators. I am sure it will get better over time. Regarding security, there should absolutely be no compromise. Sambit should not comment on matters on which he has no knowledge. Banning of mobile phones was not devised by guard outside, but by members responsible for players security. One thing which organizers should really look into is availability of essentials like water+refreshments at REASONABLE prices.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    I am an Indian cricket fan and I can emphasize with most of the points mentioned by the author, Indian cricket stadiums shall forever be doomed with the presence of steel fences beyond the boundaries, due to the acts of the previous generation which used to throw rubbish on the ground. Also the grounds here like the Wankhede and the Kotla have 60% of the seats booked for the MCA members , leaving only few available public seats at high prices. No wonder the Wankhede bears an empty look except the IPL, but yet no ex Mumbai player brings up such an atrocity in front of the media, I cant speak for the other stadiums, but these stadiums will soon lose the Indian fan forever

  • POSTED BY jimmy_the_champ on | March 3, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Excellent Article Sambit. Specially the last line - 'In which other business is the consumer not the king?' I have been the victim of it too. When I went for one of the IPL matches in Bangalore, it was the first time for me and I had my cam with me. I was asked to put my cam out but match had already begun so my friend gave me idea that rather than putting the camera there with security, remove the battery and keep battery in the security area, I did that. When I came out after match, my battery was missing from the place where I kept. And there was noone there who would properly respond to my questions. Had to spend 1500 RS for a new battery :(

  • POSTED BY Harish_CSK on | March 3, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    One thing is allowing the spectators in & treating them badly. Other thing is not allowing the spectator at all. Don't know which one is worse. The two practice matches for this series were played at the Guru Nanak College grounds in Chennai where spectators weren't allowed. I travelled all the way from my home to Guru Nanak College only to be turned away.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Mr Bal,

    I second your disappointment. I think organizers believe that with the huge population India has, people are going to come anyways for that 'first match experience'. And they also know that the TV viewers are their real consumers.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    What a nice article. I hope someone from BCCI reads this and does something.

  • POSTED BY bonaku on | March 3, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    Great article, as you said it is very important to see the match from the stands not just from the press box. Then only we will know how much trouble ppl are going through to see the match. Hope some those bcci ppl will also go to the stands and experience these hardships.

  • POSTED BY vinay3988 on | March 3, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Finally someone writes an article on this topic... Thanks Sambit... The facilities in most of the Indian stadiums have had an uplift in the recent past..But the management is simple pathetic. I mean no bad intention. I stood in queue in Chepauk for the 1st two days and returned home at 11 only to see empty seats on TV. The third day, I called my boss who had a sponsor ticket which obviously was being unused and I got to enter the stadium. But I felt bad for the thousands who were standing in queues as I knew they will return home empty handed. There are very few test lovers left and bcci/state boards are doing everything in their power to shoo them off the stadiums.

  • POSTED BY rajattiwaari on | March 3, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    @sriram venkateswaran iyyer: lol,so true.I am awaiting one positive article from sambit bal. Just one would be enough for me, because he is a damn good writer but he is always whining about something or the other. Sambit, something must be good with indian cricket,plz write about it.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    its not only in hyderbad,its gonna repeat in Mohali too in the 3rd TEST Mohali is often termed as India's one of the best stadiums but it is a bitter truth that the facilities are only for the players and VIP's. General and Student Blocks suffer a lot. The Seats are never ever clean and tidy and since there is no roof anywhere the scorching heat of sun during the days of march and april kills the enjoyment. Plus another thing which is often seen here is the overpricing of the Essential Food supplies like Water,Soft Drinks and Chips which go upto 30 Rs per bottle 40 Rs per glass of Coke and 30 Rs for a chips packet of MRP Rs.10 I just wasted 2 days waiting to get a ticket for the India-England ODI match that was held in January. I never got it. They earn a lot of money but have no fine measures to handle and control the selling of tickets and other things.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    This article echos thoughts and experiences from a lot of people including me. Me : because i suffered the wrath of the Hyderabad'i sun and apathy of the Hyderabad Cricket Association on Sat, the 1st day of the ongoing test. I will add some more info, that are not covered in the article. Adding to the unbearable heat was the fact that the amenities provided were truely No-Frills. What was available was Cold Drinks (which were not cold obviously), chips and popcorn. At lunch they also served something which they called a biriyani (contained only rice and peas). Whatever little water was available costed Rs10 for 300ml, that also after you had argued with the vendor who insisted on selling only carbonated drinks @ 6times. So even though I had tkts for the whole 5 days i cannot even dream of spending one more day amidst such miserable conditions. My experience once again confirmed my belief that authorities generally consider masses equal to cattle.

  • POSTED BY pincheater on | March 3, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    BCCI does not give damn whether you watch on ground or on TV. They get their money from sponsors and thats all that matters. On ground you would be frisked and hassled to the level that you get outraged to the ultimate. Not to mention the basic utilities like shade or toilets or even drinking water. When you watch on TV i.e in India you would be hardly able to see a honest coverage cause you get pummelled by the advts that regularly deny the replays and at times even the final or the first ball of any over.. damn the board!

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    lol... we are a country where 10s of millions go hungry... people dont have an opportunity to even survive as basic human beings.... no electricity, no portable water.... and what is this man's complaints? a) the new sporting facility is better, but not as good as his suit wearing hide couldnt stand the heat. b)he couldnt have his smart phone with him during the match because security was too tight (the same guy will cry to heaven and earth am sure when theres a lapse during a match). c) the sporting facility is not bang in the center of the already crowded choked city. d) almost about the aesthetics of a cricketing facility. seriously? come.... live with it.... dont waste space in cricinfo, that is usually taken up by good articles... respect your fellow citizens who cannot afford their next meal and never forget that the money you waste on sports, tv etc is money they could use to eat... wasting said money is inevitable... but to complain about it too? sheesh...

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    It is quite a thought provoking article Samit, but we also have to consider the ticket prices, the prices of tickets as in England, Australia et al, are quite high and thats what translate to the better facilities for the spectators as the contention stands. If the pricing of tickets are comparable to those in England or Australia, we can surely demand the facilities those countries provide

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Very timely article...BCCI doesnt really care because they make their money from broadcast rights...I recently went to the Chinnaswamy in Bgl for the Ind NZ test match. The weather was overcast so we carried an umbrella....which we werent allowed to take in so we had to walk back half hour to put it back in the car since of course there is no parking for non VIPs at the stadium...the security was treating people like ship waving their sticks etc at the people standing in the line outside the stadium on the footpath...During Tea break...I tried to get some refreshments...it was impossible with the crowds and the pathetic arrangements....I could get tickets online though...I don't know how people stand in lines for hours to get one...

  • POSTED BY inswing on | March 3, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    It is a reflection of the ruling class mentality that was developed when everything was in short supply. Not enough vehicles to buy, not enough seats on the bus, not enough everything. The idea was the being able to buy something was a privilege, bestowed by those who had the goods to sell. Customer was never king, the seller was the king doing customer a favor. Things have changed and there is not a shortage of everything, least of all seats at a Test match. But the mentality of the customer as the servant is still there. The concept of 'service' does not exist. Customer is the servant, and servants don't get service. Just being allowed in to sit in 110* sun without food is a privilege. The only way to change it is a systematic boycott.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    The last time I watched a match live in Hyderabad was an ODI in Lal Bahadur stadium some two decades and more back. That day I decided I will not ever go to the ground because the way you get treated is worse than a criminal in a police station. All over India, perhaps you get the most passionate fans who create a great atmosphere that players love. But the BCCI is like the police and the tax departments of the government. Everyone for them deserves nothing but contempt. Facilities like food water and toilets are horrible and cost you the earth, If you have female friends accompanying you, hell will seem like heaven. A couple of days back I had a crazy thought - why not go to the new stadium and may be things have improved. Some work imperatives prevented my carrying that out in action. And reading this report my last lingering doubts whether I missed something have been removed. For BCCI and its associations fans mean eyeballs and cash and devil can take the hindmost.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    I agree with most of the article. However, its silly that you are complaining about the commute and that the new stadium is 40 minutes from the city. Obviously you have no idea about hyd's geography. the Uppal stadium is pretty within the city and hey by the way its actually closer than the LB stadium to get to from the airport. Also, in any big city commute is a given..considering the size of the city.Agree with lack of facilities though.

  • POSTED BY PRGiri on | March 3, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    I was in the Hyderabad stadium yesterday and today ...came back both the days ...Insulted, Humiliated, Dehydrated and Crushed ...guess what I'm going there tomorrow again cos Sachin might bat ...thats why they don't care for the spectator. I had food poisoning yesterday from the food given in the stadium (purchased at 5 times the market price) and so thought i would make the best use of the 2 re-entry chances during the match (also mentioned in the fine print) to eat something that keeps me alive. The Police told they wouldn't let me back into the stadium as per the instructions from HCA because its a sunday and the food vendors wanted to make the most of the full house (Sunday and India batting). I HAD A VALID TICKET.

    How empathetic was that ? I felt like a caged criminal but then ... I'm going there tomorrow again . I might never get to see the MASTER ever again LIVE. Once he retires, i can plot my revenge on the BCCI / HCA.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    NIce article about the concerns of a group who made the bcci what it is today.

  • POSTED BY manikarnike on | March 3, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    Thank you Smabit Bal for writing about this on such a widely viewed Forum. I travelled from Bangalore to Chennai to watch the test match and the treatment I got was being pushed around at the entrance as 3 queues formed in front of a tiny gate. The cops did nothing to ensure a single queue was formed. My friend's watch broke too.

    In the tests against England, I travelled to Kolkata. There I was not allowed to take my bag. What should a tourist do? I mean how can I go out without a bag in an unknown city? I met Andy Zaltzman who too was of the same impression. He was not allowed to take sun screen lotion in.

    In Bangalore, against New Zealand, I had carried my bag and it was removed off my back and thrown in one corner without my permission. Luckily I was able to find it at the end of the day.

    What people do in India in the name of security is just horrible.

  • POSTED BY Atul on | March 3, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    As the paying public sat in the hot sun in Hyderbad, the bigwigs - Srinivasan, Sandeep Patil, Shivlal Yadav were seen lounging behind the Southern stands, in the comfort of their AC cabin.

    Thanks to Sambit Bal for raising this very very valid point. It was only after watching cricket in England that watching cricket live can be an enjoyable experience for which you dont have to struggle.

    The way the local boards is just a reflection of the general lack of apathy displayed by the administration and the government officials to the common man.

  • POSTED BY Venkata_Siddhartha on | March 3, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    This situation is relevant to every aspect of us public in our India, be it the Govt. at the highest level or the basic public service at a lower level.

  • POSTED BY NikhilNair on | March 3, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    As much as we love the game... I don't think a fan would want to die in a stadium; so I'd say security is important. But to hear that the students had to go 25km to just pick up the tickets is ridiculous! And I agree, BCCI is making tons of money off the fans who follow the game... and they can't even take care of the people who go to the stadium!

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Thanks Sambit for coming up with such an article.Hope this doesn't go unnoticed.

    Wish there would be some committee which also looks after Spectators facilitation's also.

    Being a hard core cricket fans, we deserve these basic facilities. don't we?

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    Chepauk is a mere 8 kms away from my home, and i wouldn't bother turning up at the stadium, even if it is an indo-pak match. Why bother enduring senseless rules and regulations, and downright pathetic treatment just for the sake of catching a glimpse of your favorite stars? Self respect gets my topmost priority. No point in degrading oneself just for the sake of having fun.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Is Wankhede supposed to be better? That too in IPL? I swore that never again will I watch a match in a stadium after returning from the one of the matches in IPL 1. We had barely reached the grounds that we found a stand selling water bottles. Too thirsty to argue, we gave 50 bucks for 2 bottles. Only to be told at the entrance, barely 10 meters away from the stall, that bottles are not allowed. We drank as much as we can, and had to throw away the rest. Once inside, we found ourselves drowning in the sea of people. The match was oversold. For the whole 21 overs (thankfully it lasted only that long) we had to stand, sweat, swear, and whenever we found energy to do so, cheer. During the break, a couple of us went outside and could bring water in polythene bags. That was my last time. Never again.

  • POSTED BY priohm on | March 3, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    @AvidCricFan boycotting matches wil be of no use ...the revenue generated by ticket sales is negligible when compared to the money they get from selling satellite rights

  • POSTED BY iNSync on | March 3, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    Sambit, Great article and all valid points but in India, customer service has no value. The reason being - 1> There are too many non-loyal buyers who view any service or product as transactional. 2> The judicial or complaint process is so burdened, slow or corrupted that litigation and consumer forums have no value. 3> The customer many a times have little pride in maintaining the standards of the services offered by using them in a way which is sustainable and maintainable. 4> There is no dearth of customers and demand is always greater than supply and therefore any standard or the lack of it does not make much difference. 5> The standards elsewhere in life are similar or even much abysmal and therefore there aren't too many benchmarks which could be referred to , to demand reasonable service. If someone asks what is the state that you have when there is population explosion - then its what present day India looks like. Just mind your own business, hoard cash and run away.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | March 3, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    I agree with the author to some extent, but the other side does have some valid reasons as well. Whether or not mobile phones are banned, I would hate it when people around me yell into their phones and chatter like there is nobody else in the ground. From a security point of view as well, I would rather be safe than sorry. You are only as safe as the weakest link. Speaking of business school students, isn't it ironic that they cannot read fine print?

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Thanx for taking up the fans for the paying public. But in the larger scheme of things are we important in the minds of the adminstrators who are more interested in the eyeballs on TV that rakes in the revenue. Majority of the grounds treat the fans like dogs. .the nightmare starts with the entry and you continue to be subjugated to the most inhuman conditions o.Lousy toilets, no food, water , if available then very badly organised at atrociuos prices . The big bosses - i.e adminstrators , VIPs anyway never pay for the tickets and hence enjoy the best of the privelges . Sad but true .

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    Every inch of evrything written is soo true...my skin & eyes are still burning after the sun burns i suffered yesterday..on top of that Bookmyshow...through which i had booked my tickets and had asked us to collect the tickets from gate #2 shifted the ticket counter 20 kms away from the stadium without any intimation..so we had to go to & fro 40 kms after reaching the stadium..and for this they had charged a cool Rs17 per ticket as convenience charges..!!! Don't know why the great commentators and players like Mr Bhogle, gavaskar, Shastri..who can't bear to hear anything negative about the BCCI highlight the spectator's plight enough..

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Yes.For those who watch live in TV the travails experienced by the spectators are not known.I didn't experience this much of dis comfort when i watched Test match at Chepauk some 25 years back.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Let me tell you that BCCI/state cricket associations does not care for spectators who come to ground.They only bother about money coming from TV sponsors because they get much more from those guys.I wish just for a few months,people stop watching cricket even on TV.That will perhaps teach them a lesson.

  • POSTED BY AvidCricFan on | March 3, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Just boycott watching games from such places. Only when it starts hurting economically, the game sponsors will realize the value of crowd. The games and money made from games is coming from people and such apathy should not be tolerated.

  • POSTED BY Indus_vvsfan on | March 3, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    The BCCIs poor planning and utter neglect of spectators really sickens me to the stomach.

    Nothing gets me more upset than empty seats in a cricket test match....it is just sad to see what folks have to go through just to go watch their favorite game in their city.

    We should remind BCCI without loyal cricket fans they don't get a single dime.

    TV format will die soon, as people will go for on-demand

    Having been to Jamaica in June 2011, I can say that the facilities @ Sabina Park would be 100 times better than what they have in most grounds in India.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    i had the same experience at the ground, they have not allowed me to carry a pen or paper. we dont have water at the ground till 11.00 A.M. I have difficulty in parking my car and they are not enough sign boards to indicate this is slot for parking. i have asked couple of police on the way to the ground , but they replied saying no idea. During lunch hours we dont have food , i went atleast 10 times to the management but they could not provide the lunch, i have to adjust with couple of butter milk packets and pufs. this experience is in South EAST pavilion near to players area( RS 750 tickets). i'm not sure about the facilities in Rs 100 and RS 300 tickets, it should be worse than me.

  • POSTED BY priohm on | March 3, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Thanks 4r ur article , raised every concern of a cricket fan at cricket stadiums ..I was thr at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium,HYD 2day,1st i have to go to 5 ticketing counters in da city to get a ticket,though online tickets r provided they r very limited tickets. n at the ground today da heat is unbearable, used handkerchiefs,caps ,sign cards nd used wat ever limited crap available at the ground, we can't even carry umbrellas inside :O,west and east stands dn't have any shade at all,By 3.30 pm most of Fans r exhausted nd weakened ..we r no athletes we r fans who luv da game nd luv to support our cricketers . even in that hell i watched last 3 test matches here, nd 2marow also im gng to b thr at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium,HYD for SACHIN, for TEAM INDIA nd for TEST CRICKET . thr r many fans like me at the ground 2day Hope they build a permanent roof 4r those 2 stands or at least temporary shades when ever thrz a match scheduled here.

  • POSTED BY venky91 on | March 3, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    I'm an ardent fan of test cricket and i saw first two days in spite of the beating sun and poor mgmt of food and water. It is a great venue and proper covering of the stands will make the stadium even attractive and more spectators will turn out

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    I think most of the blame should be directed towards the state association for making the life of the spectator as horrible as possible. I have been to the stadium for an ODI and an IPL game, both of them where horrible experiences from the comfort point of view(in other words basic needs). Tickets are sold at premium prices and the end-less journey will start with finding Parking lots,which are situated miles away and each of them at different places,based on the stand for which you have bought the ticket.Next come the ridiculous rules,like banning of the mobile phone...ridiculous because, phones are allowed in almost all other Indian stadia.Next you will sit under the sun which will bake you.Food items and beverages are priced at unthinkable rates and once I was made to buy water in the name of Sprite for some 40 bucks.This is not all,toilets are unbearably stinky and not for use.No one will care for the spectator, after all TV revenue is what matters isn't it?

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | March 3, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    Very good and very important article.

  • POSTED BY ChinmayD on | March 3, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    The problem is, as far as cricket or, indeed spectator sports in India -- given the dominance of cricket -- goes, we have not yet liberalised. We are still living in the license raj, and BCCI has the sole license to sell cricket in India (which is exactly what they do, they "sell" the product).

    In IPL, we do not have a license raj, we have free market competition, and the spectator is given much more importance than he/she is by the BCCI or its state associations.

  • POSTED BY Jeetu100 on | March 3, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    Shame, shame, shame. A lack of empathy and compassion is commonplace when small unscrupulous, power brokers have run the show in India; even in essential things like medical care, food, travel, education .... seeing the plight of the less fortunate, I squirm. I for one expect more but then try to ignore as resentful feelings add to the hurt. Even after all this we remain hopeful for improvement as we have live examples; one (cricinfo) is right in front. Every time I click on cricinfo, this vast cricinfo where everything is free, an experience, a treat of cricket beyond my imaginations, it brings a smile of satisfaction in my face and heart. Thank you cricinfo, may you grow, no words can describe what you do for a cricket fan and what an inspiration you are. Thank you Sambit, respect.

  • POSTED BY Venkatb on | March 3, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    Thanks for highlighting the plight of the only stakeholder who should count - the spectator, who is the primary reason the BCCI and players are able to earn their millions, either directly or through brand advertising were the cricket loving public is the consumer. I have had the opportunity to watch cricket matches right from the mid-60s, at Brabourne Stadium , Eden Gardens (including the riot-filled WI Test in 1966-67) to several matches both at Chepauk and in Hyderabad's Lal Bahadur Stadium. Spectators were generally treated significantly better where we could bring our lunches from home and did not have to rely on over-priced fast food at the stadia, carry water bottles and of course, walk in and out of the stadiums with ease. With all the TV advertising money the BCCI earns, their mantra is simple - spectators be damned. The BCCI and sponsors (and perhaps the players) are all that count!

  • POSTED BY karthik132 on | March 3, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    The money from gate receipts have become irrelevant nowadays. And do you expect the BCCI to acknowledge spectator apathy when it is not adding to the coffins? What I would dearly like is for the players to take up this case. And discuss in media about the apathy faced by spectators. Rahul Dravid is the only cricketer who acknowledged spectator apathy in his Bradman ovation. Though it was not much about the facilities, he said empty stands does not make for good viewing and we must get people to the stadium. I hope the Indian players all come together for the fans' sake, when the fans have ALWAYS been there for them. And Mr. Bal, I request your team to ask every Indian cricketer you interview about what they feel about spectator facilities and what can be done. We all would be obliged.

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | March 3, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Spectator comfort can be improved a lot in the grounds and this a good piece on that. Samit Bal is the only one who seems to bring this up, I remember reading similar article by you some years back. The par about fans not getting tickets for a stadium half full is heart breaking. However, why doesn't cricinfo look into the local administrations motivations on building these stadiums? Maybe some investigative journalism on the finances involved?

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    Completely agree.Was lucky to witness the first two days from a place where we had a roof above our head away from the sun but felt bad for the people who had to bear the sun.Also the decision to not allow mobile phones was completely beyond logic also the spectators were highly inconvenienced by this.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Incompetence is king when demand outstrips supply!!!

  • POSTED BY Senani on | March 3, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Very true. What makes the uncovered stands worse, inhuman in fact, is that they don't allow ones own water bottle - for it can be used as a missile. In fact that is the reason your pen was not allowed, as were the posters made by my son. However, inside, Dominos sells its pizzas in a box (which can surely be used as a missile) and Airtel branded placards are no better or worse than my son's hand-made posters - as missile material. The organizers have made some efforts: the toilets were clean, there was some water and some food, though one had to be smart to get either of them; but throwing stuff at fielders is a real threat. As long as the TRPs hold, they would not improve spectator comfort. For that, we either need fine meshes (which keep missiles out) or high ticket prices, say Rs. 3,000 or 5,000 (for IPL when we took a box @5k per seat, they also served alcohol -- apparently when you pay so much for admission you are not seen as somebody who would throw missiles at fielders).

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    I think the Indian spectator has to take the blame for showing up to the stadium to watch the games even though it is telecast live on TV and knowing well beforehand the treatment that is going to be dished out to him by the BCCI and the State Associations.

  • POSTED BY rahul_suda on | March 3, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    I went to the stadium for both the days. 14 of us went together. We were in the "open" stands samit bal was mentioning. Let me tell you it was a horrible experience. People were using handkerchiefs, the boxes thrown by the food counter people to shield from the sun. Everybody's skin got burned. Good no of children were also there. I was fearing what would happen to them. The Food arrangements are worst. They were selling some carp food in the name of biryani for very high price(Quantity is very less), I wouldn't have eat that if they give me that for free out side of the stadium. For that We need to fight out for some more than 20 minutes, like some street dogs near a dust bin.

    These Boycotts n Chappels sit in an air conditioned room n comment that "In India there is very less interest for Test cricket. Visible from the no of crowds in the stadium"

    I experienced two horrible days in the stadium, but am all ready to go tomorrow.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Well writtern... At last someone thought us good enough for considration. I was there at the stadium today, and belive me it was very hot. I had to go 25 km frm my campus to collect tickects yesterday. The passion that us indian cricket fans have for the game is second to none, then does we not even deserve some basic comfort...

  • POSTED BY RajitD on | March 3, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    I cant believe espncricinfo - the default destination for any half decent cricket fan is not accredited by BCCI. It is absurd to say the least.

    As a paying fan who regularly turns up at North / SRT stand for any reasonable game at Wankhede, I can only say that things have gotten better over time, though like the fourth seat in Mumbai locals, it is cramped. I had opportunity to see an ODI at SMS Stadium Jaipur a few years back and the toilets there were an apology. One had to wade through urine to get to your seats. Spectator comfort does not feature anywhere in the priority list for BCCI.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    Nice article Sambit. As someone who has watched cricket in both Mumbai (Wankhede and Brabourne) and London (Lords and the Oval), there is absolutely no doubt in my mind about which country's administrators actually take spectator comfort seriously. And this probably isn't pertinent but plenty of spectators in India don't really do themselves any favors on many occasions with their terrible partisanship which can border on blatant racism especially when teams from the West Indies or Kenya play there - Wankhede's North Stand immediately comes to mind. Perhaps the fans and the administrators deserve each other? :-)

  • POSTED BY Shhy on | March 3, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Thank you Sambit for this post, i was waiting for someone to bring out the plight of the spectator and when it is coming from the Editor in chief, it is comforting unlike the treatment meted out to us in the ground. Since 1998 (my first stadium experience) I have not missed even one test in Chepauk. But with every visit, the facilities are getting unfriendly for us. This time was the worst of the lot, they did not allow the spectators to go out as re-entry is prohibited and the food which they offered inside the stadium was in par with the worst you will ever get to eat in Chennai. After going to the ground for the first 3 days, I was unable to go on the 4th and 5th day as I fell sick because of food poisoning. In spite of earning crores of money through sponsors and other rights, I am unable to understand the reason for not providing quality food for people who love test cricket. Hoping for a change at least when I visit next time.

  • POSTED BY mvcric on | March 3, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    I saw the previous test in Chennai from the Pavilion terrace and it was better organised. At least one could exchange the online tickets right at the venue the previous day itself. And, binoculars were allowed.

    I did run into trouble with my mini digital camera, though. The previous day, the TNCA office guys told me I could take small cameras in and only those with zoom (the big ones like the photographers use) was not allowed. I was stupid enough not to read the fine print where it was clearly mentioned as banned. Result - spent Rs. 150/- and nearly an hour depositing it at my wife's office and then coming back. I was going to a match at Chepauk after 12 years and sadly missed the toss and the lead up to the match because of this brouhaha.

    The stupidest part of this rule was that, once in, you could see literally thousands of fans using the still and video cameras in their smartphones to capture their bit of the game. What will they ban next? Smartphones?

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    BCCI is concerned only about live audience for ODIs and IPL. Since these happen mostly at night, no need to provide for the crowd that comes for 5 days once in two years. If we criticise, they will allocate to places like Nagpur, without cricket heritage and even reaching the stadium will be an achievement.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    WoW! I didn't expect the media to be bothered about the ordeals of the ordinary cricket lover. Glad someone like you did care. Being from this city that was starved for international fixtures, particularly the test matches, I sometimes wonder if HCA is doing us a favour by hosting these matches. For first timers, the outing would be nothing short of a nightmare. As you get experienced, you start living with it.

    In the Rs. 750 (which is the second highest ticket) stand, two out of three ladies toilets weren't in working condition, and the one left was without a bolt inside! And this is a new stadium!

    It isn't too surprising, though. When India is in the world cup final, the ordinary fan is ruled out the possibility of a ticket. But when Eden Gardens is almost empty for a test match, all start preaching the fan about how he should love the game! Sigh!

  • POSTED BY SiddharthRaman on | March 3, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    Very nice article. Though one must acknowledge the fact that things have been improving from what they were in the late 90s and the beginning of the millennium. I remember sitting on cracked wooden benches with rusted nails jutting out at the Wankhede in what was considered to be a premium stand! After the renovation pretty much all stands have bucket seats now. That being said the change in mindset from the BCCI to 'consumer is king' is still sometime away.

  • POSTED BY viru_309 on | March 3, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    Forget pens and phones, even banners made from paper were not allowed....

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | March 3, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    The strangest part of this article to me is the description of the difficulties posed in getting a ticket. When England were there the commentators talked about how the public had to line up for hours, till well after play was under way, to buy a ticket, and the description of the travails involved in picking up a ticket bought online almost defies belief. As for unoccupied sponsor seats, surely it would be simple to set up an arrangement whereby the sponsor would return unneeded tickets?

    I live in America and here every effort is made to ensure that as many seats as possible are filled, because that is simple good business. Every American football ground is bigger than the biggest Indian cricket ground, yet they are all filled every game. Maybe the Indian authorities could call in some consultants from the US to assist them in making the most of their most valuable resource?

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    Sambit, this is how most infrastructure things work in India.

    I am not surprised cricket stadiums are subjected to same disdain as everything else. Try getting a railway ticket from new delhi Station or change the schedule for your air India ticket or try to buy one of the ac coach seats online, its all the same. No process, no organisation, no sense of service, no nothing. Just look at the websites of all these businesses and compare them to their international counterpart. The difference is not 10 to 15% but night and day.

  • POSTED BY Soso_killer on | March 3, 2013, 14:26 GMT

    Brillian article, i think Boards and or Administrators are getting a bit too big for their own good. This is not synonymous to cricket only.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    At last someone raises this issue. Thank you Sambit. Comparing my experience of traveling to Melbourne for the boxing day test match and going to the chennai match was like chalk and cheese. For melbourne The tickets were bought online in August for the december match and for chennai after daily calls to TNCA got a standard response of look for the ad in the newspaper. In the ground though I was in a fairly comfortable AC box the "volunteers" treated as if doing us a favour. When I got in an argument about the food with a TNCA official he haughtily claimed he was a business man who was doing us a favour by volunteering. I asked him what he was volunteering for? and if he could do whatever it was properly

  • POSTED BY z0mbiezom on | March 3, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Brilliant Sambit, I had similar experiences when watching a test match last year v west indies...such a shame...

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Very sad state of affairs. If Sambit Bal as a CEO of such big company faces difficulty in getting inside, then what about ordinary people? Why doesn't BCCI copy the same model as done for IPL? As someone pointed out, as long as Television & Advertisement rights are huge, the "small" money from gate revenues will not get attention. The collection of tickets far away from the stadium & mobile phones being banned in this age are hilarious to say the least!! If spectators are treated like this and don't turn up, then people complain about test matches losing their appeal.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    It is shame ,HCA could not provide shelter to spectators after spending crores of rupees on the stadium.That is how our system in India is.Administrators do not realize the importance of spectators to the game.HCA has been telling for the past two years that they will provide shelter to the public in the stadium.There are lot of allegations about how the money is spent.The response from HCA IS poor in this regard.Today I attended the match but I had to leave the match in the middle as the heat in the stadium is unbearable.May be it is like asking for moon for the administrators to provide proper shelter for the spectators.I decided not to attend any more matched unless a roof is provided for the benefit of common man in the stadium

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    absolutely brilliant article..hit the nail on the head... fans deserve more and its time cricketing associations stopped taking fans for granted. i had the same experience today..travelled to gymkhana to secure the online ticket and from there to the stadium only to get bathed in the sun..kudos the crowd there..their spirit held us all together through the day

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    @Sriram Venkat - Unfortunately that day would never come. We cannot expect better administration from Indians. We are pathetic when it comes to better administration. Hyderabad should not have hosted the test match in the first place. It belonged to Kanpur. We can emulate others to the point of stupidity as Bal mentioned. Common sense doesn't prevail at all. We the consumers by being fanatic are fueling this lack of apathy. BCCI is the worst sports administrator in the world.

  • POSTED BY pincheater on | March 3, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    BCCI does not give damn whether you watch on ground or on TV. They get their money from sponsors and thats all that matters. On ground you would be frisked and hassled to the level that you get outraged to the ultimate. Not to mention the basic utilities like shade or toilets or even drinking water. When you watch on TV i.e in India you would be hardly able to see a honest coverage cause you get pummelled by the advts that regularly deny the replays and at times even the final or the first ball of any over.. damn the board!

  • POSTED BY san86 on | March 3, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    Is the fact that Cricinfo isn't part of the propaganda committee makes it unworthy of accreditation? It's horrible to see poor conditions for the public? I don't see a crowd coming in for the remainder of the 3 days. What hurts the most is that this ground gets to host couple of test matches in less than a year, and Chennai hosts one in 5 years. Surely that's going to hurt any Test aficionado.

  • POSTED BY sanjaycrickfan on | March 3, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    Good article. I'm from Hyderabad and I've never seen test cricket at the stadium and I'm an avid cricket watcher. I actually planned on going to the stadium to watch this game but decided not to because I came to know they were not even allowing cell phones inside. This stadium is also some distance away from the city center and the thought of having to travel all the way there and also sit hours under the sun without a roof above my head sounded scary. While I enjoyed watching Pujara and Vijay smashing tons on tv in the comfort of my home on a Sunday afternoon, I did feel bad about the spectators and the lack of facilities available to them at the stadium. But this is the usual state of affairs in India where players and boards make millions because of the spectators and yet dont think of providing basic facilities to them. Shame on BCCI and HCA.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    A good article Sambit. This is true of other entertainment events - like rock shows too. The paying spectators are a mere afterthought in the whole scheme of things. I remember a rock show in Bangalore held a few years ago where many guys lost their laptops (now why they couldn't be taken into the grounds, I cannot still decipher). Water bottles were banned when we went as a family to watch a test match in Bangalore some time back. One had to walk out to get water. No doubt in my mind that could be one reason why we have spectators moving behind the sightscreen, which disturbs the batsman. But truly it was pathetic to see spectators using all forms of cloth to protect themselves from the sun.

  • POSTED BY bharatratna on | March 3, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    Great article, Sambit. Indian cricket has changed a lot over the decades, but the inefficiency and lack of panache in administration continues to haunt people. It was a surprise for me to see empty seats at MAC even during the weekend. Somehow this sponsorship and complimentary ticket business does not seem to affect the IPL. Guess no one wastes their ticket for an IPL match!

    PS: I guess the students were from "Indian" School of Business.

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | March 3, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry: Speak for yourself pal. Test matches in the sub-continent is no less exciting than anywhere else in the world. You can't have the same kind of tracks everywhere bcoz THAT wouldl be boring. Infact the Chennai test went into the 5th day which can't be said about any of the matches in the recently concluded series in South Africa. Oh, and Sambit is NOT wasting in time, just because you are not interested in Indian cricket.

  • POSTED BY Homer2007 on | March 3, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    None of what Mr Bal states here is new or left field.The spectator experience has been documented, in great detail, on various sites, by professional journalists as well as bloggers. So my question to Mr Bal is this - you had an entire interview with Mr N Srinivasan, of which 11 questions were devoted to the IPL and variants thereof. Not one question addressed the spectator experience in Indian stadia or ways and means of bettering it.If we, the paying public, remain an afterthought, both with Cricinfo and the BCCI,we could do without the pity, thank you very much!

  • POSTED BY Disillusioned on | March 3, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    Totally agree Sambit. I watched the recent Chennai Test match and was roasted by the sun. This is in late Feb, when Chennai is supposed to be relatively cool! The stadium is beautiful to look at, but the comfort for the spectators, apart from those in the pavilion or terrace, is absolutely zero. With modern construction techniques, why cant stadia be built in in such a way that each inch is covered from the sun? Shouldn't this be a basic non negotiable condition? Only IPL matches which are played at night can be watched with a modicum of comfort. Also, they don't allow the spectators to bring food inside, nor do they sell adequate and quality food within the premises. Who is in charge of these issues and who will take responsibility? I am afraid al such complaints will only fall on deaf ears. And they talk about falling attendances for Test matches.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    Very good Article, The funnty part is they showed Pujara's wife using the cell phone on TV, so that means obviously rules are different for Different People, BCCI would it seems never learn or maybe i should say, they do not want to learn.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    Amazing write-up Mr. Bal. I couldn't agree more. As much as everything inside the boundary rope is becoming world class, everything outside leaves a lot to be desired. I am just hoping for a day when spectators in India get better facilities. A day when we are not stuffed in grill cages and can sit and watch the action like humans.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    Hi Sambit, Great post and in fact is the ground reality existing for most spectators in India. Might be a bit too cynical on my part but this is one aspect that BCCI does not care because gate revenues possibly do not matter as much as broadcast revenues. & come whatever, there will be folks who will queue up at the stadium. Say, even if 10 or 20 of us do not go the stadium, there are 20 others who will go.

  • POSTED BY free_swinger on | March 3, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Unfortunately, Mr.Bal, the answer to the last question in the article is most any business that is a monopoly or is run by a cartel.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    Pathetic attitude by the BCCI to not take test matches to the new and well built cricket stadiums across the country. Every time there is a test match, it is either at one of the 6 metros of India ( Mumbai, Delhi/Mohali, Bangalore, Chennai. Hyderabad or Kolkata). Why not take test cricket to other brilliant stadiums in India? Maybe the sponsors or maybe BCCI bigwigs themselves want it closer to thier residences and home grounds.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    Not sure what is Sambit's beef in cricket being described as a business. Would he rather prefer that the administrators do it out of charity?

  • POSTED BY Cool_Jeeves on | March 3, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    Nice article, Sambit, but you are wasting your time. Watching it on TV is equally boring. Watching Indian cricket itself is boring. All pitches are crumblers and turners. Pacemen must have two bounces before the ball reaches the keeper. The whole affair is unappetizing visually. I watch only matches played outside the subcontinent, or Mohali, or (when the pitch is fast) Chennai.

  • POSTED BY Cool_Jeeves on | March 3, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    Nice article, Sambit, but you are wasting your time. Watching it on TV is equally boring. Watching Indian cricket itself is boring. All pitches are crumblers and turners. Pacemen must have two bounces before the ball reaches the keeper. The whole affair is unappetizing visually. I watch only matches played outside the subcontinent, or Mohali, or (when the pitch is fast) Chennai.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    Not sure what is Sambit's beef in cricket being described as a business. Would he rather prefer that the administrators do it out of charity?

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    Pathetic attitude by the BCCI to not take test matches to the new and well built cricket stadiums across the country. Every time there is a test match, it is either at one of the 6 metros of India ( Mumbai, Delhi/Mohali, Bangalore, Chennai. Hyderabad or Kolkata). Why not take test cricket to other brilliant stadiums in India? Maybe the sponsors or maybe BCCI bigwigs themselves want it closer to thier residences and home grounds.

  • POSTED BY free_swinger on | March 3, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Unfortunately, Mr.Bal, the answer to the last question in the article is most any business that is a monopoly or is run by a cartel.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    Hi Sambit, Great post and in fact is the ground reality existing for most spectators in India. Might be a bit too cynical on my part but this is one aspect that BCCI does not care because gate revenues possibly do not matter as much as broadcast revenues. & come whatever, there will be folks who will queue up at the stadium. Say, even if 10 or 20 of us do not go the stadium, there are 20 others who will go.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    Amazing write-up Mr. Bal. I couldn't agree more. As much as everything inside the boundary rope is becoming world class, everything outside leaves a lot to be desired. I am just hoping for a day when spectators in India get better facilities. A day when we are not stuffed in grill cages and can sit and watch the action like humans.

  • POSTED BY on | March 3, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    Very good Article, The funnty part is they showed Pujara's wife using the cell phone on TV, so that means obviously rules are different for Different People, BCCI would it seems never learn or maybe i should say, they do not want to learn.

  • POSTED BY Disillusioned on | March 3, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    Totally agree Sambit. I watched the recent Chennai Test match and was roasted by the sun. This is in late Feb, when Chennai is supposed to be relatively cool! The stadium is beautiful to look at, but the comfort for the spectators, apart from those in the pavilion or terrace, is absolutely zero. With modern construction techniques, why cant stadia be built in in such a way that each inch is covered from the sun? Shouldn't this be a basic non negotiable condition? Only IPL matches which are played at night can be watched with a modicum of comfort. Also, they don't allow the spectators to bring food inside, nor do they sell adequate and quality food within the premises. Who is in charge of these issues and who will take responsibility? I am afraid al such complaints will only fall on deaf ears. And they talk about falling attendances for Test matches.

  • POSTED BY Homer2007 on | March 3, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    None of what Mr Bal states here is new or left field.The spectator experience has been documented, in great detail, on various sites, by professional journalists as well as bloggers. So my question to Mr Bal is this - you had an entire interview with Mr N Srinivasan, of which 11 questions were devoted to the IPL and variants thereof. Not one question addressed the spectator experience in Indian stadia or ways and means of bettering it.If we, the paying public, remain an afterthought, both with Cricinfo and the BCCI,we could do without the pity, thank you very much!

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | March 3, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry: Speak for yourself pal. Test matches in the sub-continent is no less exciting than anywhere else in the world. You can't have the same kind of tracks everywhere bcoz THAT wouldl be boring. Infact the Chennai test went into the 5th day which can't be said about any of the matches in the recently concluded series in South Africa. Oh, and Sambit is NOT wasting in time, just because you are not interested in Indian cricket.