Azhar Opposes Kohli’s 5 Test Venue Proposal, Ganguly Non-Committal

Virat Kohli said that India should have five designated Test match centres for future series.

Published23 Oct 2019, 03:16 PM IST
Cricket
3 min read

Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Tuesday, 23 October, said that India should have five designated Test match centres for future series. The recently concluded three-match Test series against South Africa didn’t see a lot of people coming to the stadiums to watch the matches.

On being asked about the crowd turning up in less numbers in Ranchi, Kohli straightway came to the point.

“That’s a great question. We have been discussing this for a long time now. And in my opinion, we should have five Test centers. Period.”
Virat Kohli

"Look, if you want to keep Test cricket alive and exciting, I totally agree with the fact that we need five Test centers at max. It can't be sporadic and spread over so many places where people turn up or they don't," said Kohli.

"So, in my opinion, absolutely, we should have five strong Test centers where the team coming to India knows that this is where we're going to play and nowhere else," he added.

But Hyderabad Cricket Association president and former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin is not on the same page with the Indian skipper.

‘Then Why Have State Association Stadiums?’

Azharuddin, who is in Mumbai for BCCI's Annual General Meeting, said, “What will happen to all the stadiums being built by other state associations? Why do we have them? Test cricket is very important and all want to host them. Why should they only host T20 internationals and One-Day Internationals? Let people in all parts of country see it.”

Newly appointed BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, also agreed with Azharuddin on this. In his first press conference as BCCI Chief, he said, “Same fans turn up for the IPL. So, it is more than just the stadium. Eden Gardens is going to host Bangladesh and we don't know what will happen and the same stadium didn't have space to stand during the IPL. Same stadium.”

I.S Bindra Stadium, Mohali
I.S Bindra Stadium, Mohali
(Photo: PTI)

He also said that he will sit and discuss this matter with Virat when he meets him.

“In terms of the Test venues, we have a lot of Tests and a lot of venues, we will have to sit with him (Virat) and see what he wants.”
Sourav Ganguly, BCCI President

Certain state centres are also against the five Test center proposal. According to a report in The Times Of India, Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) treasurer RP Sangla believes that there is no escaping the reality that the crowds for Test matches are relatively poor across the board.

“Where are the crowds anywhere for Tests? There is too much cricket through the year. There is fatigue amongst the fans too. Wherever you play now, the crowds will be less. And a place like Mohali is a big center too. The venues that are hosting Test matches deserve to do so,” he said.

According to another Times of India report, former BCCI secretary from Saurashtra, Niranjan Shah, argued that such a move would not be possible.

“Why limit Tests to just five cities in India? We have so many cities where there is huge passion for the game. It is important that tests are not restricted to just 5 centres,” Shah told the national daily on Tuesday.

It remains to be seen whether BCCI would understand the mindset of the Indian captain and take his suggestion into consideration or not.

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