Anil Kumble backs Virat Kohli's idea of having fixed Test centres at home
Former India captain and head coach Anil Kumble has supported Indian captain Virat Kohli’s idea of having five strong Test centres at home. After India’s 3-0 whitewash of South Africa, Virat Kohli had talked about having five regular and fixed Test venues, similar to other leading Test nations.
Talking to CricketNext, the Indian leggie supported Kolhi’s thinking about choosing the right time and venue for organizing Tests in India. The topic was discussed in view of less crowd attendance even on holidays at the Indian grounds.
Talking about his playing days, Kumble was reminded how Chennai used to hold a Test match during the festival of Pongal and the Test season started at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. He said:
"I think that has certainly been one of the ways of promoting Test cricket… It is also important to choose the time of the Test match. We all remember that during the festival of Pongal, a Test match used to happen in Chennai. And the start of the season used to be in Delhi. Bangalore would have a Test match, Mumbai would have a Test match, Kolkata of course.”
Kumble stressed on the fact that the regular venues for Test cricket should be marketed appropriately so that there's a reasonable crowd for it to prosper.
In the recently concluded Test series against the Proteas, India saw some phenomenal displays en route their 3-0 victory. The performances though had little effect as the attendance at the grounds remained to poor. Kumble cited the example of Indore and how the Holkar Stadium used to be packed during his playing days. He stated:
"I think it is important for Test cricket to promote these centres where people would know that these are the centres where you are going to play Test match cricket prior to the start of the season, so that you can market Test cricket and you can make sure that the crowds come in.
When I was the coach, I think we played in six different centres. They were all new centres and the one centre it was packed was Indore. The atmosphere was brilliant. It [the stadium in Indore] is in the heart of the city. That was one of the reasons that the crowd could come in irrespective of the time of the day."
According to Kumble, the comfort of the spectators watching should be prioritized and basic comforts should be readily available, only then can we expect people to watch Test matches. Kumble said:
"What we a need to also do is to create better facilities for the spectators to come and view the game… You know, they need to have comfortable seats, the access to the stadium, ticketing. I think use of technology is something that we need to look at when it comes to issuing tickets and then of course the basic comfort like food and water and toilet facilities. If we can provide all of that, make the spectator really comfortable, then I think you will see a lot of people coming in to watch Test match cricket."
Kumble also supported current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s plan to organize day-night Test matches in India as it can help the cause and increase the number of spectators at the stadium. Kumble sounded apprehensive when asked about the interference of the dew factor as seen in the limited-over games and said:
"I think day-night Test cricket will certainly bring in the crowds towards the latter half of that game… You also need to choose the right time of the year because we've seen in day-night ODIs, the ball gets really wet because of dew."