India to play first day-night Test with B’desh
- The second Test of Bangladesh’s upcoming tour will be played under lights at Eden from November 22 to 26
- The series comprises three T20 Internationals and two Test matches
KOLKATA: The iconic Eden Gardens is set to add another important chapter in the history of Indian cricket by becoming the country’s first venue to host a day-night Test match.
The second Test of Bangladesh’s upcoming tour — comprising three T20 Internationals and two Test matches — will be played under lights at Eden from November 22 to 26.
Sourav Ganguly, the recently-elected president of the Indian cricket board (BCCI), has been quite vocal on the need to stage D/N Tests — arguing that this is the way forward to rekindle spectator interest in the five-day format as the hours of play would allow more people to turn up at the ground after work.
Ganguly sent a proposal on the day/night Test to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) last week, soon after obtaining Team India skipper Virat Kohli’s okay. However the BCB, which had internal issues to deal with including a players’ revolt over pay issues, took its time before taking a final call.
Late on Monday, BCB officials held a high-level meeting with the players after the team’s practice session at Mirpur. There were some reservations, but the Bangladesh team management ultimately agreed to play under lights at Eden, a day before the squad travels to New Delhi on Wednesday.
It will be a new experience not only for the spectators but also the India and Bangladesh cricketers, as neither team has featured in a D/N Test before.
There was no official statement from the BCB till the evening, but Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo spoke about the historic occasion at a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday. “I as a coach and the players think it’s a great opportunity. It’ll be a massive occasion under lights at Eden Gardens. So we’re very excited,” he said.
Domingo tried to play down the X-factor of playing pink-ball cricket. “We haven’t played a pink-ball Test but neither have India. It will be a new experience for both teams,” he said.
The coach tried to look at the positives. “We know India are a good Test team. They may be the number one team in the world, but the uncertainty factor of playing a pink-ball Test is the same for both teams. That we don’t quite know what to expect could work to our advantage,” he hoped.
Domingo echoed Ganguly’s view on day-night Tests. “Just the way the game is going, we’ve got to look at trying new things at certain times. We know it’s going to be a big challenge but sometimes change is the best thing,” the South African said.
The coach admitted that there were some concerns among the cricketers. “I’ve spoken to the players. For sure there have been some concerns. Some guys actually said ‘We don’t know about this (pink ball)... How can we get used to it with so little preparation time of only two-three days between the first and the second Test’,” Domingo revealed.
The coach hoped that his own experience of pink-ball cricket would come in handy. “During my time in South Africa, we played a pink-ball match in Adelaide, but we had a warm-up game before that with a pink ball. It’s a little bit less time for this game. Hopefully I can share my experience with the boys,” he stated.
While India sit on top of the World Test Championship points table, Bangladesh will open their campaign in the upcoming series.
It’s learnt that the daily timings of play in the Eden Test will be from 2 pm to 9 pm with a 20-minute tea break after the first session and a 40-minute supper break ahead of the final session.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) welcomed the move, saying preparations have started for the historic match. “We will sit with the BCCI president to work out the modalities and ensure we are in sync with the plans of the board,” CAB secretary Avishek Dalmiya said.
The CAB has the experience of staging pink-ball cricket at the Eden. In June 2016, a local league match between Mohun Bagan and Bhawanipore Club was played with pink balls — a match in which Mohammad Shami took seven wickets to set up a big win for Bagan.