Kolkata, November 21
Indian cricket will finally embrace the pink revolution after initial reluctance when Virat Kohli’s seemingly infallible galacticos lock horns with a deflated Bangladesh in their maiden Day/Night Test starting here tomorrow.
It took India a new BCCI regime under maverick former captain Sourav Ganguly to take the pink-ball plunge, a good seven years after the International Cricket Council approved the format to revive interest in Tests.
Ganguly convinced the Bangladesh Cricket Board to agree to a Day/Night Test just a few days before their team was to land in India.
So far, 11 Day/Night Tests have been played worldwide since Australia set the ball rolling against their Trans-Tasmanian rivals New Zealand four years ago in Adelaide. Australia had proposed a Day/Night Test at the same venue against India last year but the wary tourists didn’t agree to the proposal.
At home too, the Indians were not open to the idea until Ganguly stepped into the picture within a week of taking charge of the BCCI.
The bone of contention was the SG pink ball, which many still believe is difficult to sight after sunset. Add to it the dew factor, which players believe aggravates the bowlers’ problems.
But Ganguly found Kohli on the same page and the current Indian captain took just “three seconds” to agree to the Board president’s idea.
So far, the build-up to the Test has been smooth. A sellout crowd for the first four days has been managed, something that has been the primary goal of playing the traditional format under lights. Amid all the hype, there is also the small matter of India bracing up for a 12th successive home series victory. The challenge for the players would be when the dew comes into play after the sun sets early and it remains to be seen how both the teams and the groundsmen would cope with the pink ball. — PTI
Heavy hockey ball
The pink ball feels like a “heavy hockey ball” to Virat Kohli, who is extremely wary of the challenges its weight, hardness and colour could pose while fielding. “One thing that surprised me was the fielding sessions. In the slips balls hit so hard it almost felt like a heavy hockey ball, all those synthetic balls that we’re used to play with in the younger days,” Kohli said. “It’s purely because of the extra glaze on the ball, it is definitely much more harder. For some reason it felt heavy and even the throws took a lot more effort than the red colour to reach the wicketkeeper.” PTI
Not a regular feature: Kohli
A Day/Night Test can be a “one-off thing but not a regular scenario”, India captain Virat Kohli said, asserting that the beauty of facing a red ball on a nervy morning shouldn’t be compromised for entertainment’s sake. “I think this can be a one-off thing but it should not be a regular scenario. In my opinion, this should not become the only way Test cricket is played. Because then you are losing out on that nervousness of the first session in the morning,” Kohli said. “You can bring excitement into Test cricket but you can’t purely make Test cricket based on just entertaining people. Entertainment of Test cricket lies in the fact that a batsman is trying to survive a session and the bowler is trying to set up a batsman (to get him out). If people don’t respond to that, too bad,” Kohli said.
‘A practice match would have been helpful’
Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque rued that his team didn’t even get a practice game to prepare before taking on India in the first-ever Day/Night Test between the two teams. It was only two days before embarking on their tour to India that BCCI president Sourav Ganguly convinced the Bangladesh Cricket Board to play a pink-ball Test and there was no provision for a warm-up game. “We did not get any opportunity to play a practice match and at that moment (when it was decided) we could not do anything. The only way to prepare for us was by preparing mentally. But definitely, if you play any Test match with the pink ball, you have to play practice matches,” Mominul said. The current Bangladesh team have no pink ball experience even at the domestic level and they only had four sessions, including two in Indore, before their first ever D/N Test.
Hasina to inaugurate Test
New Delhi: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will visit Kolkata on Friday to inaugurate the first-ever Day/Night Test match to be played at Eden Gardens. Hasina is arriving in Kolkata at the request of PM Narendra Modi, said the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Ravish Kumar here today. tns
Pacers more effective under lights: Gambhir
Former opener Gautam Gambhir feels the India and Bangladesh captains need to be innovative while handling their pacers with the pink ball, including using them frequently under lights for more effectiveness. “...captains will now need to use their fast bowlers differently,” said Gambhir. “In red-ball cricket, they use them early in the morning but in the day and night matches they will probably have to use them under lights also as it will be of more help as compared to if it’s a 1 pm start.”
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