Day-Night Test match in India: Are we jumping the gun too early?
The much speculated day and night Test Match in India might not even see the light of the day, or should we say the light of the floodlights. And for once, it is not the BCCI reticent to change. On the contrary, the BCCI has been quite vocal about this radical proposal ever since Anurag Thakur assumed charge.
Well and rumours have received fresh wings ever since it has been announced that the Duleep Trophy match will be played under lights at the historical Eden Gardens. Nothing to be surprised as the man in charge, Saurav Ganguly has always been a man who loves to make things happen rather than sitting back and waiting for things to unfold right before his eyes.
Hence, his comments that the day and night test match at the Eden might not go ahead as planned has raised few eyebrows. Well, if we keep all our 'Indian' emotions aside and think, this might not be an outlandish statement after all.
For starters, the quality of pink ball is still under observation. Even Australian skipper Steven Smith who has played a day-night test match is still not convinced with the quality of the pink ball.
"I've said before that from my point of view, I'd really like to see the development of the ball continue. I don't like that there has to be extra grass on the pitch in order for the ball to hold up. I don't think that's cricket as it should be", Smith said.
This statement in itself should be closely observed. For everything, the outfield at the Eden Garden is a bit more scuffed up as compared to the Adelaide Oval. If the ball somehow lost its shine on the Adelaide Oval, the chances are high that it might lose its shine here in Eden too.
And then there is the pitch. Adelaide has historically been a pitch that assists spinners because of its low and slow nature. But the pitch which was used for the match between New Zealand and Australia had visible tinge of green grass which was left so that the ball keeps its shape and shine. It was all perfect, because Australia and New Zealand both had potent fast bowling attacks, and hence the match was in the balance. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh, Trent Boult and Tim Southee got the ball hooping around under lights and the batsmen's technique was closely examined.
Now, zip across to the Eden Gardens. The pitch is tailor-made for spinners to rule the roost, and understandably so. After all, the home team India has spinners who can win games all by themselves. If grass is left on the pitch, and it has to be left, all the advantage will be handed over to the Kiwis on a platter.
One they already have the experience of using the pink ball under lights, and two their fast bowling contingent is more adept at utilising the seaming and swinging conditions. Why would anyone in their senses hand over their home advantage to the touring team? And trust Saurav Ganguly to know this more than anyone else.
Keen eyes will be hooked to the Duleep Trophy match and as per Ganguly whatever transpires there will dictate the future course of action.
Also, eastern India has always been notorious for dew, more so under lights. The match will most probably start somewhere around 2-3 in the afternoon and will definitely have the effect of dew. If this happens, all the balance will be robbed from the bowlers. For all the effort to get in the audience, if the competition is not fair, the interest will slowly wane away. Another impeding factor most definitely.
Finally and most importantly, the feedback of the players and their comfort levels has to be taken into account. After all the hype and build up, the players which took part in the inaugural day-night Test Match are not too convinced with the ball and the doctored conditions which are specially created to allow the match to go on.
A man like Saurav Ganguly who has tremendous knowledge of the game and about the conditions should be trusted, and when he has expressed few apprehensions it has to be entertained. The idea is all fair, it is progressive, but then are we jumping the gun a bit too fast?
My guess is as good as anyone else, we are all guessing, but we are all excited!