Cricket

India should have only five permanent Test centres: Kohli

There were several empty seats during the Ranchi Test

There were several empty seats during the Ranchi Test   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Indian captain made this suggestion when asked about the lukewarm response in Ranchi

Virat Kohli believes India should have only five Test centres.

None of the venues for the Freedom Series — Visakhapatnam, Pune or Ranchi — have traditionally hosted Tests, with all three conducting only their second Tests.

Contrast

In contrast to the practice in England, Australia, or South Africa, which have traditional Test venues, matches in India are allotted by rotation.

"We've been discussing this for a long time now," said Kohli, when asked if India should restrict Tests to big cities.

"And, in my opinion, we should have five Test centres. Period. I agree that you have State associations, rotation and giving games and all that... That is fine in T20 and ODI cricket, but for Test cricket teams coming into India should know we're going to play at these five centres. These are the pitches we're going to expect. These are the kind of people they're going to come to watch, crowds," he said.

"That becomes a challenge already when you're leaving your shores because when we [India] go to any place we know we're having four Tests at these venues, this is what the pitch is going to offer. It's going to be a full stadium, the crowd is behind the team," he added.

Attendances this series, except on weekends, were largely discouraging. In Pune, where the stadium is a fair distance from the city, the turnout on days one and two was in the low thousands.

In India's bigger cities, crowds have generally been more supportive of Tests. But over the last 10 years, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata have hosted only 18 Tests combined. In that period, Lord's alone has hosted 20.

Total agreement

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

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

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 11:59:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/india-should-have-only-five-permanent-test-centres-kohli/article29768583.ece

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