Sourav Ganguly: BCCI president makes day-night Test in India a reality

India Today

India Today

Author 2019-10-29 23:29:00

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Sourav Ganguly has always believed pink-ball Tests were inevitable (Photo: Subir Halder)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • India to host 1st ever day-night Test in November
  • Sourav Ganguly has been a big believer in pink-ball Tests
  • Under Ganguly reign, CAB hosted India's 1st ever pink-ball match

Ever since Australia and New Zealand played the first ever day-night Test in 2015, the pink-ball innovation has been seen as the future of the longest format of the game. Test matches, played under lights, have, it is safe to say, revived the interest for Test cricket.

However, over the last 4 years, India had been reluctant to play day-night Tests. The cricket world was waiting with a lot of anticipation when India were set to tour Australia for a 4-Test series in 2018-19 as they were expected to move away from their stand on pink-ball cricket and participate in the annual day-night fixture at Adelaide Oval.

India though maintained their stand on day-night Tests and refused to play the day-night Test in Adelaide, citing lack of match practice with pink balls.

There was also a line of thought that the Indian team management was against day-night Tests as it was not mandatory to hold pink-ball matches in the inaugural cycle of World Test Championship.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappel was among the many who had lashed out at BCCI over their refusal to play the day-night Test in Adelaide during the tour in which India clinched their 1st-ever Test series win Down Under.

Also, head coach Ravi Shastri said last year that he was open to the idea of playing day-night Test in the near future in the lead-up to a home series against West Indies. The then BCCI acting secretary, Amitabh Choudhary had, in fact, wanted to host a day-night Test in Rajkot but the Supreme Court-appointed CoA shot down the proposal saying the players were reluctant to play in whites under lights.

BCCI boss Sourav Ganguly hits it out of the park

Cut to 2019, a week after Sourav Ganguly took over as the boss of the richest body in world cricket -- Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), India are all set to play their first ever day-night Test in Kolkata against Bangladesh from November 22.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had agreed to a proposal from the BCCI for playing the 2nd Test of the upcoming 2-match series under lights at Eden Gardens.

Right after filing his nominations for the post of BCCI president, Ganguly had made his intentions clear about the day-night Test. Having been a staunch supporter of the pink-ball experiment in world cricket, Ganguly said every Test-playing nation should play day-night Tests.

"Day-night Test is the way forward. Every country has to play day-night Test, that's a long-term future for Test cricket. They (India) are a good side, they will win day-night Test matches also," Ganguly said earlier this month.

Right after his 1st meeting with India captain Virat Kohli as BCCI president last week, there was strong indication that the 1st ever day-night Test in India was not far away. Ganguly had said he discussed the prospects of day-night Tests with Virat Kohli and that the skipper was agreeable to it.

It's not surprising that Sourav Ganguly has spearheaded this change when it comes to day-night Tests in India. Under Ganguly, Cricket Association of Bengal were India's pink-ball pioneers.

During his reign as CAB president, the 1st ever pink-ball cricket match was played in India -- Cricket Association of Bengal's Super League day-night final in 2016. Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore Club played the pink-ball final and a few India stars, including Mohammed Shami and Wriddhiman Saha took part in the fixture.

The biggest push for pink-ball cricket from the BCCI came when Duleep Trophy -- the annual first-class fixture in India was played under lights for the first time in 2016-17. Incidentally, Ganguly was part of the BCCI's technical committee during that time.

The Duleep Trophy was played with the pink ball for 3 successive seasons before it returned to red-ball format earlier this year.

Ganguly has always been a big believer in day-night Tests being the future of Test cricket. As early as 2016, Ganguly wanted India to have a taste of the pink-ball experiment. "Adopting Day-Night Tests is common sense and it has to come to India," Ganguly had told India Today. It needed him to be in charge of the all-powerful BCCI to bring about a change that he hopes will revive the popularity for Test cricket in India.

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