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Three cheers for Bangalore crowd

Immediately after receiving the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, MS Dhoni led his troops on a lap of honour around the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The act, however, was not to bask in the glory of having just beaten Australia, but to give thanks to a crowd that had provided the kind of support that is normally reserved for IPL matches and ODI's.

cricket Updated: Oct 14, 2010 00:11 IST
Anand Vasu

Immediately after receiving the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Mahendra Singh Dhoni led his troops on a lap of honour around the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The act, however, was not to bask in the glory of having just beaten Australia, but to give thanks to a crowd that had provided the kind of support that is normally reserved for Indian Premier League matches and one-day internationals.

The 40,000-strong cricket faithful waited on, keen to savour the moment for as long as possible, and it was only when policemen pressed for the stands to be emptied that the crowd dispersed.

While the Indian Board's riches are constantly referred to by other nations, this is usually qualified with the statement that the Indian public don't support Test cricket as they do the shorter versions of the game.

But Bangalore has proven that there is a clear and demonstrable demand for the format the players hold dearest. Dhoni was quick to give credit where it was due.

“Maybe some of these centres, where people come up to see Test matches can be given preference over some other centres where people don't come in large numbers to watch Test matches,” said the India captain, no doubt making the Karnataka State Cricket Association the proudest state body on the day.

The BCCI, which awards matches to venues on a rotation basis, would do well to pay heed to Dhoni's suggestion, but whether they do so, forfeiting the ability to dole out largesse to its voters, only time will tell.

Dhoni, choosing his words carefully, and twice expressing the need to take them in the right context, elaborated: “After all, if taken in the right sense, we are the performers in the circus, but you need the circus to be full to really perform,” he said, showing remarkable self awareness. “They supported good cricket more than anything else.” When not waxing eloquent, Dhoni explained exactly why it was important to play in front of full houses, from a player's perspective.

“It really helps the players who are on the field,” said Dhoni. “Frankly speaking, from the 45th or 50th over when the fast bowler comes for his second or third spell, it's the crowd that gets him going, apart from the fact that he is supposed to do well for the team and the country. You need some kind of motivation, especially because we're used to playing IPL and ODIs in front of 50000 people, you want that kind of a crowd. Throughout the five days there were good crowds, and on the final day it was literally house full.”

A Sachin Tendulkar double-century, an India win, a packed house - it certainly seems like all is well with Test cricket in India at the moment.