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English board trains eyes on Asian community

cricket Updated: May 26, 2009 01:42 IST
Arjun Sen
Arjun Sen
Hindustan Times
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The success, or a large part of it at least, of the forthcoming World T20 in England could hinge on the Asian community in that country.

With both India and Bangladesh, two of the biggest draws of the tournament, scheduled to face-off at Trent Bridge on June 6, and expected to reach the Super Eights, along with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is taking every possible route to woo the Asian community.

And the first step to that end, was seen at a Baisakhi Mela in Brick Lane, London last month where the ECB set up a stall promoting the marquee tournament.

“Creating awareness among the Asian population is top on our priority list at the moment and we have devised a concept of innovative marketing,” tournament director Steve Elworthy told the Hindustan Times from London.

“Diversity is one of the key features of England, and that is what we have to tap in to. The Asian community represents a large section of the population in the country, especially in London, and we are making a concerted effort to get closer to those communities,” Elworthy, who is reprising his role as tournament director after a much-acclaimed showing at the inaugural tournament in his home country of South Africa in 2007, said.

Matches involving the Asian countries have always attracted the biggest crowds, and therefore it was no surprise when Elworthy and his team decided to go out of their way to tap in to the predominantly cricket-loving Asian community in the United Kingdom.

“We realised that while they wanted to watch games involving the likes of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, they weren’t your quintessential online ticket buyers,” Elworthy said.

“Buying tickets is more over the counter for them, and that is just what we did. We set up ticketing booths at the biggest bank in Brick Lane and the response was better than expected,” he added.