Bangladesh Cricket Board has accepted BCCI’s request of playing the Kolkata Test of the forthcoming series as a Day-Night game. Eden Gardens will thus become the first Indian venue to host a pink-ball Test.
BCCI, under new president Sourav Ganguly, made a proposal for the second Test of the upcoming two-Test series to be a pink-ball and stated that India captain Virat Kohli, too, was in agreement. The BCB had reserved their decision on the invitation, waiting to get a confirmation from the players and the team management.
“This is the beginning of something special in Indian cricket,” Ganguly said. “It is a priority for the newly elected Office Bearers and members of Apex Council to take Indian cricket forward. For me, as former Captain of India and as the current President of BCCI, Test cricket is of utmost priority and we at BCCI will leave no stone unturned to bring this format back to its feet.
“In this effort of ours, Day-Night Test cricket is a huge step forward and we believe it will bring back the crowd into stadiums and a whole lot of young children to the sport. I am extremely honoured that the Eden Gardens will host the inaugural Day-Night Test match and the Cricket Association of Bengal will create a spectacle for everyone to watch. I thank the Bangladesh Cricket Board President Mr. Nazmul Hassan and his team for accepting our request on such a short notice. I also thank India Captain Mr. Virat Kohli for his co-operation,” he added.
Bangladesh, like India, haven’t played a pink-ball Test match since the concept saw the light of the day in November 2015. Green-lighting the game, Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo said his players, all of whom were consulted, were excited at the prospect of playing the top-ranked team in such a novel game at an iconic venue.
“As the coach and some of the players and all the other senior players, we think that it’s a great opportunity,” Domingo said on Tuesday (October 29). “I don’t think India have played a pink-ball Test before. We haven’t played a pink-ball Test. It’s a massive occasion at the Eden Gardens.
“It will be a new experience for both the teams. So we are very excited about it. It will be a great occasion under the lights against one of the best team in the world, probably the best team in the world also. So we are really looking forward to the challenge.”
India’s decision to welcome the idea of a D/N Test under Ganguly is a departure from their previous skepticism of the concept. BCCI had been invited to play a pink-ball Test in Adelaide by Cricket Australia on their 2018-19 tour, but had turned it down citing lack of practice.
Incidentally, the pink ball debuted in India at the Eden Gardens in 2016 during the CAB Super League final of 2016. Subsequently, BCCI turned the four-day Duleep Trophy competition into a pink-ball tournament at the start of 2016 with an eye on eventually playing a D/N Test match in India. Concerns about the lack of spin and reverse swing on offer with the pink ball remained as the the tournament continued to be played with the pink SG ball until 2019, when the final originally slated to be played with the pink ball, went ahead with the red ball as a day game.
Coincidentally, Bangladesh too have held that skepticism, turning down New Zealand’s proposal last year due to lack of match preparation. Incidentally, both India and Bangladesh will have just two days of preparation between the Indore and the Kolkata Tests to acclimatise against the pink ball.
“I have spoken to the players. For sure there have been some concerns,” Domingo said. “Some guys said it will be just a few days [of] preparations. There is only two days between first and second Test… In my time with South Africa, we played a pink-ball Test in Adelaide with Australia. We had a warm-up game before. We had few sessions. So it will be a less time to start. I have worked with pink-ball and hope it will be an advantage for us.
“There is a travel day and two practice days. And that’s all at the moment. During that time there will be some pink-ball preparation. But our focus will be first Test first. Once that is completed, we will prepare for the pink balls. There are some challenges but it is same for India. They haven’t played a day-night Test match. So it will be same for both the teams. Not a lot preparation time but [it is] an exciting event. Because of the pink-ball, it may help both the teams little bit close together and we are excited about the opportunity,” he added.
Bangladesh begin their India tour with the three T20Is, starting on November 3, before heading to Indore to kick off their World Test Championship campaign from November 14. The timings of the second Test at Eden Gardens, to be played from November 22, will now be tweaked for a slightly late start in-order to play the final session under lights.