Rain threat looms large over India's first pink-ball game
India’s first ever official pink-ball game set to be played at the Eden Gardens between June 18 and 21 is under the severe threat of rains, with the MeT Department predicting heavy thunderstorms for at least the first two days of the final of the Super League to be contested between Bhowanipur Club and Mohun Bagan.
The newly introduced tournament was one of the many innovations that have been put forward by former Indian skipper and current Cricket Association of Bengal President Sourav Ganguly, ever since assuming office after the sudden demise of former supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya. Billed as the first competitive event of the new cricket season, the Super League was introduced as an eight-team tournament featuring the best club teams from Bengal.
Ganguly, who is an outspoken supporter of pink-ball cricket and day-night Tests, had put forward the idea of the final of the new tournament being played under lights with each day starting at 1430 hours Local time and continuing under floodlights as a precursor to the historic first ever day-night Test to be played between India and New Zealand in October later this year.
The rain gods, however, seem to have other plans in mind with the intent of playing spoilsport on what was set to be a historic day in Indian cricket.
"There are 60 to 70 percent chances of thunderstorms on Saturday. There will be intermittent showers. It might continue till Sunday," a Met official said on Thursday.
The capacity of the Eden Gardens to withstand heavy downpour have been called into question on many occasions, especially in the aftermath of the scheduled T20 international between India and South Africa during the Proteas tour to India towards the end of 2015 getting washed out in spite of the ground staff having adequate time in hand to get the surface ready for a match of international standards.
Speaking earlier in the day alongside former teammate VVS Laxman and Australia’s Dean Jones, Ganguly had revealed the instructions he had received from the Kookaburra manufacturers in Australia who are providing the pink balls for the final of the Super League.
"Fifteen days back when I had with Kookaburra, they told me to get the conditions right. They told me to have more grass on the wicket and the pitches which are close to it. Otherwise, it might get scuffed up easily," the 43-year-old had remarked.
If rain does come down hard as expected, the chances of the ground being in a shape fit enough to support pink-ball cricket is pretty less and India may have to wait a little longer before witnessing a fully fledged day night pink-ball game.