Every now and then there have been talks about improving the game of the cricket. Cricket is evolving every day (Also Read: How Cricket is will evolve in coming time) and the brainstorming about the proposed changes is also being done regularly. One such idea that caught attention recently is the use of neutral venues. Neutral venues inherently mean that the stadium at which the match is played does not belong to the teams participating. Similar to what is happening in the India VS West Indies T20 series since it is being played in the United States. Let us look at whether neutral venues are the way forward for cricket.
In June this year, the BCCI agreed on a recommendation to have Ranji Trophy matches played at neutral venues. The committee was setup after as many as 29 matches in the last season ended in 3 days or less. The blame is on the home side to prepare rank turners. The suggestion is to try neutral venues for one season at least. The wickets will be prepared by the appointed curators only. This decision has managed to generate mixed responses from the stakeholders.
Although the move might sound fair, imagine a Delhi VS Gujrat match happening in Karnataka. The final of the Ranji last year in Pune saw a turnout of around 100 people on a daily basis since the teams playing were Mumbai and Saurastra. Mohammad Kaif, who has a vast experience, showed his displeasure towards the BCCI’s decision saying that it will be very toiling for the players to keep travelling for such a long period. Moreover he added that the crowd loves to watch people from their state play in front of them.
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But here at The SportsRush, we feel that neutral venues are indeed the way forward for cricket. Although there are many reasons but the major one is the fact that neutral venues take away any unfair advantage that the home team might have.
There have been several allegations on the Indian team in the past that pitches in India are made slower deliberately which favours Indian style of playing. Not just in international matches, many times in IPL similar things happen.
And it indeed happens. For a long time we saw Indian batsman doing well on Indian pitches while biting the dust outside the subcontinent. The primary reason is the amount of cricket they play here. Neutral venues will give more universal player to game of cricket. Not just that, the level of cricket will increase as a whole.
Neutral venues will also see people form non-cricket playing nations turning up for the matches increasing the popularity of the game. In the India VS West Indies T20 match yesterday in US, we saw a huge turnout of spectators favouring both the sides.
It was also a great experience and opportunity for Indian’s living in the US to see their stars play live. Football has gained its foot in the world of sports since it is being played all around the globe. Big teams like Real or Barcelona travel throughout the year and play in different parts of the world.
One great example of this is the Pakistan team which has been playing its ‘home’ matches on neutral locations for several years now. Stadiums in the UAE have hosted international matches for Pakistan and the idea has had huge success.
Similarly the recently concluded CPL was played in the US and the turnout was anything but amazing.
So what happens eventually is still anybody’s guess. But if the recent success of neutral venues has anything to say, the idea of neutral venues is here to stay.