Yorkshire ponder cuts after poor Pakistan crowd
Only a few thousand were in attendance for each of the four days the match lasted, in a ground holding 18,000 © AFP
Yorkshire are contemplating cuts after losing out on as much as 750,000 pounds (1.16 million dollars) while staging last week's 'neutral' Test between Pakistan and Australia at Headingley.
Although Yorkshire boasts England's second largest 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 BBC television's Look North programme on Monday.
"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 told AFP here on Sunday.
"We need to appreciate the effort, as it involved financial risks on behalf of the organisers."
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