One-day cricket suffering from low attendance

January 17th, 2009 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 17 (IANS) It’s no secret that Twenty20 cricket has taken a toll on the popularity of One-dayers and this fact has been demonstrated in the ongoing series between Australia and South Africa.Where a crowd of more than 62,000 watched Australia beat South Africa in a Twenty20 match last Sunday, a crowd of 39,731 was present in the first One-day international between the sides here Friday.

The attendance was less than 30,000 halfway through Australia’s innings, but it swelled substantially into the early evening after the close of business hours. And those present witnessed a pulsating match that went into the last over.

The attendance provided doomsayers for the one-day game another example that the 50-over format in is terminal decline given the boom of the Twenty20 revolution.

Cricket Victoria (CV) chief executive Tony Dodemaide insists the low MCG attendance does not mean the bell tolls for the 50-over game.

Dodemaide said in the 38 years since the MCG hosted the inaugural one-day international, the average crowd for matches at the venue was just over 40,000.

“We remember the blockbuster days of over 50,000 and even 70,000, but in those figures one in 10 crowds only have been above 70,000 and one in three have been 50,000 or over,” he said.

“So it’s probably a bit of a fallacy to think there should be blockbuster crowds here for limited-overs cricket when history does not tell us that.”

The Melbourne Cricket Club had hoped to attract about 45,000 fans for the match, but Dodemaide said the lower figure was also partly attributable to Melbourne’s recent glut of international fixtures.

“We have had seven days of international cricket (including the Test match) in the space of three weeks, so that’s quite unusual of the Melbourne market,” he said.

“We’ll sit down and look at it, but obviously you’ve got to take international cricket when it’s given to you.”

Dodemaide said it was still too early to gauge whether the public preferred Twenty20 cricket to 50-over matches.

“It’s too early to draw those sort of conclusions, we’re still getting healthy crowds for limited-overs cricket around the country,” he said.

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