In a bid to make Test cricket more appealing to the masses, the ICC introduced day-night Test matches and while other nations have embraced the change, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was not too keen on it.
However, with Sourav Ganguly having taken charge as the new BCCI president, the Indian stance has changed.
The former India skipper has made it clear that with the World Test Championship having the option of the teams organising day-night games, India too needs to move forward rather than hold back.
Eden Gardens is gearing up to host the first day-night Test in India starting November 22 against Bangladesh, after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) agreed to the BCCI’s request of playing the second match of the Test series under lights.
Team India head coach Ravi Shastri had last year agreed to play day-night Tests against West Indies before deciding to inform the Committee of Administrators that the team wasn’t ready and would need 12 to 18 months to prepare for the challenge of playing against the pink ball under lights.
The general notion was that not having to play day-night Tests in the World Test Championship was one of the reasons why Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli weren’t too keen on playing Test matches under lights.
But it would be wrong to think that the Test championship wouldn’t see matches played under lights. Adelaide, for instance, will host pink-ball Tests.
In fact, a senior ICC official also confirmed that there is an option of playing matches under lights in the World Test Championship if both teams agree to the idea.
Day-night Tests is the way forward and this Indian team under Kohli has the arsenal to do well in the format.
One must also remember how India were also opposed to the idea of the Decision Review System (DRS) in its initial years.
Since other countries have started preparing themselves under challenging conditions, India should look forward to the task at hand too.
Day-night Test is part of a long-term future for Test cricket. With India on top of the Test Championship leaderboard, it is all the more important to see if they have any troubles facing the pink ball under a dark sky.
With the match taking place at the end of November, dew is expected to affect the outfield after sunset, which could favour the batsmen.
Sachin Tendulkar commented on the issue, saying “I think the dew factor will play a big role over here. We need to figure out how much dew is there. The dew will determine to what extent both teams are competing. The conditions shouldn’t hinder anything.”
The timings of the match, which the BCCI is yet to announce, will help fans increase the attendance as they can now head to the stadium after work.
“It is a nice concept, as people would be able to watch a day-night Test after their working hours,” Tendulkar said. “People can come in the evening and enjoy the game. From players’ point of view, it won’t be a bad idea to play with the pink ball and check how differently it behaves from the traditional red ball.”
The pink ball has been criticised in the past for not having as pronounced a seam as the red ball and also getting scuffed up or losing its colour soon.
To ensure appropriate preparedness against the pink ball, India’s batsmen could face enough deliveries that simulate the nature of the pink ball at various stages of the innings before the game.
Relying on the first-hand experience of players who have played the Duleep Trophy with the pink ball could go some way towards equipping the home team to tackle the change.
The wicketkeeper will play a massive role in providing feedback as to whether the ball is skidding or whether it is not coming onto the bat easily.
All said and done, we believe that the introduction of day-night Tests in India is a good move except if the dew becomes a factor, as it will create very difficult conditions for both seamers and spinners.
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