Newly-elected BCCI president promises to provide fans with better facilities and in-stadia experience
Anurag Thakur began his new innings as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by emphasising on the need to serve the spectators better.
New BCCI president Anurag Thakur makes a point during a press conference at the BCCI headquarters yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
A few lines into his opening remarks after becoming the third youngest BCCI president yesterday, Thakur (41) touched upon the fans' loyalty towards cricket in India. "Cricket is India's most popular game, but more important for us are the fans because no matter what the weather is — heat, rain or cold — they buy tickets to watch the game and make it more popular," said Thakur.
As India prepares to host 13 Tests this season, Thakur said, "Every state unit has been told to reserve a minimum of 10 per cent tickets of their stadium's capacity for students, girl children and the specially-abled which will be given to them free of cost so that they can come and witness Test cricket in India. The state associations are free to raise this percentage. We (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association) did that during the World T20 matches by giving 20 per cent of our capacity as free tickets as part of the cleanliness drive."
The move is also aimed at popularising Test cricket in India which is facing a testing time in terms of filling up the seats in the stadiums. Well aware of the problems fans face inside stadiums, Thakur has made seat-numbering mandatory at grounds. "In a few stadiums, we have noticed that the seats are not numbered, so we have instructed all the associations to do so. A spectator need not worry about losing his seat if he takes a break during the match. We will allot matches only after the process of numbering the seats has been done," said Thakur.
He has also urged the state associations to have their websites updated regularly and get active on the social media within the next six months. Thakur also had some encouragement for physically challenged fans who generally fear coming to the ground due to lack of facilities. "There will also be a special area marked for the disabled, so that they don't face any problems while watching the game," he said. Later, while talking to reporters after the press conference, Thakur stressed on the need to have cleaner toilets, clean seats for public in the stadiums.