Zapp Brannigan says:
“What makes a good man go neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?”
Neutrality sickens us, just as it sickens him. Picturing a neutral crowd at a neutral Test venue sends us into a blind fury at all they stand for and all they don’t stand for.
Okay, so it’s clearly not that bad, but we’ve still got mixed feelings. Playing matches at home or away has far greater significance in Test cricket than in any other format. Not only that, but it has far greater significance than in any other sport. It’s one of cricket’s selling points.
A cricket tour is still an ‘event’ in our eyes. It’s a long, drawn-out test of cricketers’ abilities. Being at home should be an advantage and being away should be a huge disadvantage. It gives the game colour. Conditions are different in the various cricketing nations and the way of playing the game is different too.
Test matches need good crowds, but something important will be lost if they’re played at neutral venues. We should resist this, but as Zapp says:
“With enemies you know where they stand. But with neutrals – who knows?”