Kohli: Crucial to market Tests like we do T20 and one-day cricket

By Sports Desk November 24, 2019

Virat Kohli feels greater interaction between young fans and players at games - along with an improved marketing strategy - could help boost attendances at Test matches in India.

Kohli's side wrapped up a comprehensive victory over Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in the first pink-ball Test on Indian soil, Umesh Yadav claiming the three wickets they required as they triumphed by an innings and 46 runs.

A seventh successive win in the format means they extend their lead at the top of the ICC's World Test Championship, keeping them on track to reach the final at Lord's in June 2021.

However, India's captain feels more should be done to attract bigger audiences on home soil, citing the need to make a trip to the Test an "experience" for spectators at the venues.

"It's very, very crucial to market Test cricket like we do Twenty20 and one-day cricket," said Kohli.

"It's not only the job of the players playing, it spreads out to the management, then to the cricket board and the home broadcaster over how you portray a particular product to the people as well.

"If you create excitement only around T20s, and not so much Test cricket, then in the psyche of the fan there is a certain template established.

"I think if there is enough buzz created around Test cricket, there will be a lot more keenness to come to the stadiums.

"I'm a big fan of having more interactive areas for people during the games, as they have abroad. Maybe a play area for games, these small things will help, maybe school children can interact with India players during lunch beyond the playing area.

"All these things will really bring that strength to Test cricket and people would want to come in and have an experience of a Test match.

"It should be an event where you experience cricket, not what you just sit there and watch in hot conditions. There has to be more for the fan."

Kohli also suggested that a change to the international schedule, with teams not playing back-to-back series on home soil, may benefit the Test Championship.

"We are definitely playing good cricket, but I don't think there should be any tags attached to any team," he said. 

"In the Test Championship, even if we make the final, there is only one game. Whoever plays well will win, it doesn't matter how many points you had at the end of the day.

"A good format would be one at home and one away, then you keep that balance moving forwards."

India now switch their focus to white-ball cricket, starting with T20 and ODI games against West Indies at home. Their next Test series is early in 2020, when they tour New Zealand.

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