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Cricket boss defends poor crowds

Australia cricket boss James Sutherland has put poor crowds down to the season’s unusual structure and is adamant that fans will soon fill venues again.


A packed international schedule started this week with below par attendances for Australia’s opening Twenty20 games against South Africa.

Only 26,000 fans turned up in Adelaide, and Friday night’s MCG match attracted a crowd a little more than 21,000.

But the Cricket Australia chief executive said the coming Test series against India and next year’s World Cup will attract cricket lovers.

“We will see the crowds continue to build over the course of the summer,” Sutherland said on Saturday.

“We’ve got a little bit of an unusual summer this year with Twenty20s and one dayers first and then we get into Test matches in December.

“We’ll see big crowds during the Test series and then the one dayers in January, and … the World Cup.

“It was 100 days to go to the World Cup the other day (and) we had another very significant splurge in ticket sales.”

Sutherland was more cautious about the West Indies, but similarly optimistic that their problems will be resolved ahead of the World Cup.

The West Indian team pulled out of a tour of India last month over a pay dispute.

The ICC board is discussing the issue this weekend.

Sutherland said there are no indications that the West Indies’ trip to the World Cup is in doubt.

“It will be interesting to see what comes of that (the ICC board meeting),” he said.

“But there are different versions of events and we’ll wait and see if something can be resolved.

“We haven’t got any doubts about that (the World Cup) all going ahead as planned.

“I guess right now the wounds of the recent Indian tour are all a little bit raw and I think getting everyone together now in Dubai will be a help to get forward.

“The West Indies are due in South Africa very shortly, so from what I understand they have intentions to be announcing a team in the next couple of days.”