Releasing soon: Day and Night Test
Virat Kohli is “agreeable” to day-night Tests and SG, the manufacturer of the cricket ball for Test matches in India, are “ready”, should the BCCI decide to hold a Test under lights against Bangladesh next month.
Day-night Test was on the agenda when the newly-elected BCCI president Sourav Ganguly met India captain Virat Kohli in Mumbai on Thursday. BCCI secretary Jay Shah and Kohli’s deputy in limited-overs internationals Rohit Sharma, too, were part of the meeting. On Friday, during his felicitation at Eden Gardens, Ganguly said he received a positive feedback from Kohli, with regards to playing day-night Tests.
“I must say that Virat Kohli is agreeable to it. There are reports that he doesn’t want to play day-night Tests, which is not the fact. So once the captain of India is agreeable to it, life becomes a lot easier. We will see how we can push it. The game needs to go forward,” said the BCCI president.
“We all are thinking about this and we will do something about it. I’m a firm believer in day-night Tests. I don’t know when will that happen. But till the time I am around, I will be pushing for it,” he added.
This paper reported that the BCCI under Ganguly is contemplating on holding a pink-ball Test, when Bangladesh tour India for a two-match series next month. The first Test would be played at Indore from November 14, while Kolkata play host to the second Test from November 22.
To make one of those – read, the Eden Test – a day-night affair, the proposal needs the ratification of the BCCI’s apex council and also the consent of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). But the real issue about holding a pink-ball Test in India in such a short space of time is that the ball manufacturer needs to be ready.
“Yes, we are ready. See, pink-ball technology is very similar to the white-ball technology. And we have been making white balls for decades now. The feedback so far has been very positive. I don’t see any difference between the white and the pink ball. So if need be, we will be ready with the pink ball, if that is required,” owner of Sanspareils Greenlands (SG), Paras Anand, told The Indian Express, asserting that the company would be able to supply the pink ball of required standards if a Test against Bangladesh is played under lights.
The company, though, hasn’t received any official communication from the BCCI yet, which can only happen after the apex council gives the go-ahead.
Dwindling stadium attendance for Test cricket is a serious concern in India. But the SG pink-ball hasn’t been used in Indian domestic cricket yet. Pink Kookaburra balls had been used for the Duleep Trophy, which received a lot of criticism from the domestic cricketers.
Ganguly’s push, Kohli’s approval and the apex council’s ratification notwithstanding, a lot of dots are still need to be joined before a day-night Test can be organised inside a month. Two white balls are used in a 50-over ODI game. In Test cricket, a ball has to last at least 80 overs before the second new ball becomes available. In Australia, Test cricket is played during Southern summer. In India, November dew could be an impediment. Also, it could be a tad risky to use the SG pink balls directly in a Test before conducting a trial.
“We are confident. Even the red ball also, sometimes you notice, whether your are playing in England, Australia or South Africa, there are phases where the bowlers get frustrated for whatever reason – it could be the ball, it could be the wicket, it could be, you know, somebody batting really well… The ball is changed. There’s nothing very drastic about it. But as far as the pink-ball is concerned, whatever trials we have done, we are pretty confident (the ball will last for 80 overs),” Anand said, informing that trails were done in local matches in Meerut.
According to him, the SG pink-ball doesn’t need a domestic trial before it is used in a Test. “Personally I don’t see any reason that it needs domestic trial and the rest, I think the technical committee in charge (of the BCCI), they will take the right decision.”
India will not be playing a home Test this season after the Bangladesh series. And as per the existing BCCI constitution, Ganguly’s term as the cricket board president ends in July next year before he goes to a mandatory three-year cooling-off period. From that point of view, unless there’s an amendment in the cooling-off clause, which is subject to the Supreme Court’s approval, the Eden Test against Bangladesh could be Ganguly’s only opportunity to introduce a day-night Test in I ndia.
The Eden Test assumes greater significance because Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are likely to in attendance. A pink-ball Test will offer a great spectacle. Whether it can be organised in such a short time remains a big question.
‘IPL no inferior to EPL’
Meanwhile, Ganguly put the IPL on a par with the English Premier League in terms of its popularity. “The IPL is probably is biggest league in the world. That two-and-a-half months are no way inferior to the English Premier League. In terms of TV rating and eyeballs,” the BCCI president said.
In charge of the Indian cricket, he spoke about trying to “make a difference” and reiterated that he didn’t want to lose the legends to conflict of interest.
The newly-elected Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) president and former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Ganguly’s former India team mate, VVS Laxman, were present at the felicitation. Laxman suggested that the BCCI should revamp the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and make it a Centre of Excellence.