Nagpur, Feb 8 (IANS): For many years people have written the epitaph for the longest format of the game under the onslaught of white-ball cricket and waning interest for Test cricket among fans for the slam-bang form of the game.
However, in recent times, it has been proved that if the fans expect a tough contest, they will come out to the stadiums to watch the proceedings, not bothered whether the game will last three hours, eight hours or five days.
If the contest is good and strong teams are involved, the battles in the field are good enough to entice the spectators as big crowds at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and other venues have proved.
India skipper Rohit Sharma on Wednesday said that spectators will come out in huge numbers for good matches.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy series opener between India and Australia at Nagpur is set to prove the doubters about the popularity of Test cricket wrong as the organisers have announced a full-house at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Jamtha.
The organisers have claimed that they have sold 40,000 tickets for the opening day of the Test and the first day is sold out. They expect the crowds to return in huge numbers in subsequent days as the match is expected to be a hard-fought one and there is a lot of excitement about the series and the opener considering so much is at stake for both teams.
Rohit said it was a good sign for Test cricket that there is so much interest for the longest format of the game and hoped that people will come to the stadiums in big numbers at other venues during the four-match series.
"Good sign for Test cricket. Feels good that so many people are coming for Day 1. They should come to all the venues, not just Nagpur. It feels great when the crowd turns up. People want to watch good Test cricket," India skipper said at the pre-match press conference ahead of the series opener on Thursday.
The huge interest among the fans in Nagpur proves that Test cricket is still alive and kicking and people will fill the stadiums if the action on the field is really good and the game is marketed properly.
The VCA has done a great job in promoting the Test and enticing the people.
The 35-year old cricketer also said that he loves playing at Nagpur, which is his birthplace.
"This is a good ground, big ground. I get good support. There have been good matches here. In India, there are some grounds where it feels good to play. This is one of those. All boys like it here. When you play a Test, you first see how the dining room is, the changing area is, the recovery room is, and all facilities are there.
You have to be here for eight days for a Test match. All facilities are good here. For recovery also, there is also a lot of space. That is also a factor. The pitch, outfield are all great. Support is also good," said Rohit.