Former India captain and current director of cricket at the NCA, Rahul Dravid, weigh in over the dwindling crowds for Test match cricket and talked in detail about the pink ball D/N Test in Kolkata starting November 22 having overseen Indian players' first training session for it in Bangalore.
"We trained at 6pm. For the first hour or so, it was fine. Only around 7.30 pm did the dew come in, and that’s my only concern," he told Economic Times. "To get the crowds back into the stadium, the pink ball Test is a welcome addition."
Many share Dravid's concern regarding dew especially in the eastern part of the country where the natural light fades away quicker than normal despite this being the early part of the winter season.
"It is not the only solution to rejuvenate Test cricket, but it is one of the things we need to do. If only we are able to control dew, the pink ball Test can become an annual feature in India."
"You make it tough for the bowlers when the ball gets wet and takes the swing away... it (pink ball) is a novelty that will attract people to the stadium and must be tried," he added.
Dravid believes people need to be pragmatic also, because Test cricket, in general, might not again enjoy the kind of turnouts we used to have in India. "When we say there were 1,00,000 people at the Eden Gardens in 2001, we are missing the point," he said. "At that time, there was no HD television that could guarantee you a better experience at home, there was no cricket on mobile, and if you wanted to catch the action, you had to make it to the ground."
"Things are different now and it is important we accept the ground reality. Yes, you can argue that the Ashes are always full and that Test cricket is in good health in England and Australia, but that’s because they have a Test cricket calendar and we don’t."
However, the great man also said there is a genuine need to uplift the facilities that ground authorities provide to the spectator so as to bring in as many of them as possible.
"We need better facilities at stadiums, for fan engagement is extremely necessary to bring crowds back to the game."
"Basic things like toilets, seating, car parking need to be looked into, these are things that will draw," he concluded.
(Inputs from ET)