Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar were luckier to bat at number 3 and 4: Sourav Ganguly
Under former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has become an active domestic entity. Apart from signing five sponsors for their properties this year, Eden Gardens is also set to become India’s first stadium to host a day/night pink ball test. A few days ahead of the CAB Super League Clash, the Prince of Calcutta was joined by Eden favourite VVS Laxman and former Australian cricketer Dean Jones to discuss the structural benefits of pink ball cricket in Kolkata.
Speaking at the event, Ganguly said, “Pink ball cricket is something that will bring test cricket closer to the fans again. This particular calendar year has a lot of test matches, and we must be able to market day/night cricket to people. Test cricket needs to become something that people are excited about. If you saw the recent England/Sri Lanka test match, crowds attended the event, keeping in mind a day out, not necessarily a cricket match. We need to bring that to India, it should replicate T20 cricket because of its importance to the sport.”
Laxman spoke from a player’s perspective, describing the importance of a crowd in Test cricket. He said, “As a player, the most important factor for a player to garner confidence is crowd, if you don’t have a crowd a player doesn’t get that extra energy. So, it’s very important.”
The new red ball came on to the bat better, I used to tell Rahul and Sachin they were lucky because they batted earlier: Ganguly
The panel discussion was hosted by commentator and cricket expert Harsha Bhogle. He called it the “Pink ball experiment,” requesting Test cricket fans to be patient. He said, “Test Cricket is not being able to grow, because most of us, including me think that it should be played in a certain manner. So we need to realise that people have jobs, they can’t sit and watch Test cricket.
“They will come at a suitable time, when they are done. So we need to cater to them. Even if it doesn’t work it’s an experiment. We are often told during school about the experiment, observation and conclusion method. We are guilty of jumping to conclusions, as cricket has always adapted, we need to adapt to a more viable change now, with the pink ball as catalyst,” Bhogle added.
Ganguly himself played a match with the pink ball, when he captained the MCC team in Dubai. He said, “I honestly didn’t find any difference between the pink ball or any other. The basic skill is to eye the ball to perfection. In fact, with the red ball, it was more difficult to play with the red ball at times. I would always tell Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar that they were luckier because they came in at number three and four, it went easier off the bat, because the ball was new. We need to give it a shot and see what happens.”
Talking about Australia’s experience with the pink ball over the past year, Dean Jones was optimistic about Test cricket’s growth. He said, “Back home in Australia, it has already evolved several times. In the beginning there were problems, bowlers had an advantage with visibility. But now, with the change of seam to black from white in colour, is helping batsmen pick rank turners. It will be great for Test match cricket.”
The CAB Super League final will be played with more grass on the wicket, since Kookaburra has instructed them to have a certain amount of grass on the wicket. If there isn’t, the ball could get damaged easily. The final on June 18 will be played between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore.