No proper facilities for fans, admits Bindra

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Mohali, Oct 19 (UNI) Former BCCI chief IS Bindra today admitted that dwindling crowds for the Test matches are due to the poor facilities provided to the fans in the stadia.

Bindra, who is also the president of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) was candid in accepting the fact the spectators are being ''short changed'' by the organisers.

Talking to mediapersons here, Bindra said ''unless best possible facilities are not provided, spectators will not come to watch the game in the stadium. Why should some body come here to see when he or she can watch the match in the air condition comfort at home'' and added ''we will have to entice the fans back. It will impact everything if crowd remain aloof from Test cricket. We have been short changing the public and I admit we have not been more spectator-friendly. The state associations will need to create more facilities and we have to accept it as a challenge.'' He supported the rotation policy saying, ''If matches are rotated, the novelty factor will be there because only one venue cannot keep drawing crowds.'' Bindra, who is also ICC Principal Advisor, however, tried to rationalise the reason for the low turn out of the spectators here saying ''one reason behind the low turnout for Test matches here could be that it had hosted 13 matches in the past two years- including Test matches, Champions Trophy and seven IPL matches- and the charm of the longer version of the game might have been lost a bit.'' He said the PCA stadium here will have a new pavilion block, covered stands and more facilities will come up before the 2011 World Cup.

''New facilities are also coming up at Mumbai's Wankhade, and Nagpur. Soon 26 other state associations will have new facilities,'' he said, adding ''all the associations will get help from the BCCI to improve facilities.'' He was of the view that IPL, which commanded 87 per cent crowd occupancy in the first edition this year has generated more interest among the people towards the game.

''Twenty20 has in fact attracted more people to Test cricket.

Even the TRP ratings for the current Test are high which shows more people are watching the game on TV. T20's effect on Tests is both a challenge and opportunity if we draw proper lessons from it.'' He opined that ''IPL has generated interest in people who were shifting to F1 and American sports, but what we now need is to attract the crowd to come and watch inside the stadium.'' He said he has been assigned the job of promoting cricket in Uinted States and China. And claimed that, ''After India, United States is the second biggest market for cricket in terms of TV rights.'' UNI HSB CS BD1650

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