Take note of the dwin­dling crowd at our Test matches

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS - Su­nil Then­abadu, e mail sthen­abadu@hot­mail.com

It is a gi­gan­tic com­pas­sion to glimpse only minia­ture spec­ta­tor sur­veil­lance at th­ese closely con­tested Test matches at home venues. Spec­ta­tor in­ter­est should have been at the fore­front of the at­ten­tions of au­thor­i­ties of Sri Lanka Cricket. They should very well com­pre­hend that a Test match will not be boom­ing with­out a weighty spec­ta­tor au­di­ence.

In the matches played in Pallekelle and the SSC in re­cently, there were an abun­dant of va­cant seats made avail­able by SLC at a cost. Such bar­ren­ness is not felt when Test matches are played in na­tions like In­dia Bangladesh, Aus­tralia and Eng­land. Sri Lankan fans also are equally pas­sion­ate about cricket. But the non- af­flu­ent must hurdle over ob­vi­ous con­straints to watch a Test match un­like our counterparts in over­seas coun­tries.

In Sri Lanka there are enough and more cricket en­thu­si­asts who are non- af­flu­ent but fa­nat­i­cal to ar­rive at the venues. They would be buoyant to gaze at Test cricket with zest and pas­sion if af­forded this sce­nario. Some types of such in­cen­tives have been made ac­ces­si­ble to at­tract school­boys to make the stands some­what full so that the bare­ness in the stands would not be felt.

It is per­ti­nent to men­tion the SLC au­thor­i­ties have not made any en­deav­our to draw ob­ses­sive spec­ta­tors to venues. There had been only a hand­ful of spec­ta­tors dur­ing the en­tire du­ra­tion of Tests. They should have known that our crick­eters need a boost to up­lift their morale es­pe­cially as we are play­ing at home.

This is food for su­perla­tive thought for the au­thor­i­ties of the SLC. This should have been a mat­ter treated as prece­dence as th­ese dour scenes with bar­ren stands should not be tol­er­a­ble, ex­posed to the world which is tele­cast world­wide.

Strate­gies should also have been strained up to mag­ne­tize spec­ta­tors by com­pli­ance of in­cen­tives such as slashed tick­ets, shel-

The Sun­day Times has de­cided to ded­i­cate this col­umn to its read­ers so that they can comment about con­tents in our sports col­umns and fea­tures and also write their own thoughts on var­i­ous sports with let­ters to the edi­tor.Their views how­ever are not nec­es­sar­ily those of the news­pa­per.

ter, pipe borne wa­ter etc. The low at­ten­dance re­flects very shod­dily on our cricket which is highly ranked amongst the world’s crick­et­ing fra­ter­nity, as Sri Lanka has come to be known widely world­wide be­cause of the crick­et­ing ex­per­tise.

The Test in Galle against tour­ing Eng­land team was how­ever pa­tro­n­ised by many as it was the farewell Test of Ran­gana Herath. The SLC should take steps to at­tract spec­ta­tors for the Pallekelle and the SSC venues as a huge con­tin­gent of English fans rep­re­sent­ing the Barmy Army would- be present to bol­ster the English team.

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