England coach concerned by drop in attendances

The second Twenty20 international against Pakistan at Cardiff cricket on Tuesday witnessed a crowd of 5,821 with almost 10,000 seats left unsold. A further 4,000 seats were unsold in the first match on Sunday.

England won the World Twenty20 in May and that success was expected to have a positive impact on crowd numbers for the English summer. Even test match crowds were down on the usually high standards.
"It was a strange atmosphere (on Tuesday)," Flower said yesterday. "That must be the smallest crowd I have ever been involved in with an England team in England (and Wales).

"It's a real pity. Perhaps the (wet) weather didn't help but no one wants our national side to play in front of such a small crowd. To have two Twenty20 games at the same venue at this stage of the season might have been an error. It's something the ECB might want to look at.

"None of us want to see small crowds but we don't know what the attendances will be like at the one-dayers yet. Hopefully the English cricketing public will come and support their team."

The early indications are good. The first 50-over match at Durham on Friday had advance ticket sales of 14,200 for the 15,000 capacity ground.

England Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood reiterated his thoughts on Tuesday after the match that there is too much cricket in the international calendar, alluding to the fact that the lower crowds may be the start of the result of overkill.
Flower said Pakistan's travails may be another factor. Three of its players were last week suspended after allegations of spot-fixing.

The proud Pakistani spectators may be ashamed of its under-performing team that has lost five of its six internationals against England on the tour so far, added to the disheartening controversies.
"Yes I'm sure that's a factor but that's a situation that we can't do too much about at the moment," Flower added.

"The bottom line for spectators is that they want to be entertained and whatever problems Pakistan have they will play attacking cricket as we will too."

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