Yorkshire ponder cuts after poor Pakistan crowd

Updated: Jul 27, 2010, 16:05 PM IST

Leeds: Yorkshire are contemplating cuts after losing out on as much as 750,000 pounds (USD 1.16 million) while staging last week`s `neutral` Test between Pakistan and Australia at Headingley.

Although Yorkshire boasts England`s second largest Pakistani population outside of London, the expected support for Pakistan - who won by three wickets after bowling out Australia for just 88 on the first day - failed to materialise.

Instead, only a few thousand were in attendance for each of the four days the match lasted, in a ground holding 18,000, as Pakistan levelled the two-Test series at 1-1.

The matches were played in England because of security concerns in Pakistan where international cricket has effectively been suspended since an armed attack on Sri Lanka`s team bus in Lahore in March last year.

Colin Graves, Yorkshire`s chairman said there would be cuts but promised "no alarmism" and insisted the playing staff would be unaffected.

"We don`t see swingeing cuts at all - there is no alarmism here," he told a television programme.

"We had a board meeting last Thursday while the Test match was going on, anticipating what was going to happen.”

Asked why so few, Yorkshire-based Pakistan fans turned up to watch the match, Graves replied: "I think we expected them to be using credit cards in January, February, March.”

"Unfortunately, they didn`t. But they also didn`t turn up on the day - which was a surprising thing, from our point of view."

Some queries whether a daily ticket price of 30 pounds was too expensive and Graves said: "Yes, we could have reduced the prices - that can be levelled at us - but we think 30 pounds was fair value for a good day`s cricket."

Graves insisted any cuts would have no bearing on Yorkshire`s squad, saying: "While I have been at Yorkshire, we`ve never cut the cricketing budget - and we never will."

Meanwhile, Yorkshire chief executive Stewart Regan was left contemplating some depressing figures, telling the Yorkshire Post: "The match has cost us several hundred thousand pounds in terms of lost ticket revenue.

"I would say we`re in the region of 500,000-750,000 pounds short of what we were expecting, which is a big disappointment."

Arshad Chaudhry, chairman of the Leeds-based Asian Business Development Network, was also saddened by the small crowds, which he blamed on a lack of media coverage in the build-up to the match. But he warned counties such as Yorkshire might be unwilling to stage `neutral` games in future unless they could expect better attendances.

"Yorkshire and the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) have gone out of their way to host the Pakistan-Australia home series here in England," Chaudhry said here on Sunday.

"We need to appreciate the effort, as it involved financial risks on behalf of the organisers."

Bureau Report