Ganguly convinces Bangladesh for India’s first ever D/N Test at Eden
The Indian cricket team will play its first ever Day-Night Test match here against Bangladesh next month, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly told PTI on Tuesday, taking a path-breaking decision within a week into his nine-month tenure.
The Test is scheduled to be held at the Eden Gardens from November 22-26 and will be the second game of a two-match series.
The development ended days of speculation after Ganguly first proposed the idea to the Bangladesh Cricket Board, which faced resistance from its players and sat for multiple meetings to convince them.
“The BCB has confirmed and we are having a pink-ball Test. It’s a good development. Test cricket needs this push. Me and my team were bent on it and thanks to Virat (Kohli) also, he agreed,” Ganguly told PTI.
Bangladesh’s South African coach Russell Domingo conceded in Dhaka that there are concerns about how the match will pan out but the team has decided to accept the change and explore new avenues. The match will start at 2pm (IST) and will comprise a Tea and Dinner break.
“We think it’s a great opportunity. I don’t think India has played a pink ball Test before. It’s a massive occasion at Eden Gardens against one of the best teams in the world,” Domingo said.
“We are looking forward to that challenge. There are some challenges as we will not have a lot of time to prepare but it’s same for India. I don’t think they have had a day-night Test match. So it will be same for both teams,” he added
“Since it’s pink ball, both teams will be close to each other. Sometime change is the best,” the former Proteas coach said.
It was Ganguly, who was instrumental in organising the first ever pink ball match in India although it was a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Super League final between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore under lights in June, 2016. Ganguly headed the CAB at the time.
Two players, who played that match — Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami — are expected to play the first ever pink Test.
The BCCI had introduced the pink ball in Duleep Trophy that same year and it continued for three seasons before the Board scrapped it this year due to lack of broadcast coverage.
Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma have also played pink ball Duleep games among the current India players.
The spinners have expressed concerns about the dew factor, which they believe, puts them out of equation.
Ganguly, however, assured that conditions won’t be a problem.
“We will sort this out and there would be no dew. We have day-night one-dayers after all and dew spray is used,” he said.
There are plans to invite India's legendary Olympians like Abhinav Bindra, M C Mary Kom and P V Sindhu and felicitate them for their contribution to the country’s Olympic movement during the match.
Ganguly, a former India captain and an advocate of the innovation to revive interest in Test cricket, wants to make it an annual affair like Australia's Pink Test in which the national team wears pink caps to raise breast cancer awareness.
Also, with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set to witness the first day’s proceedings, it is expected to be a carnival at the Eden.
Ganguly, within a week of taking over as Board chief, has created a lasting legacy.
“It’s just my job, that’s what I’m here for... Because I’ve played this game for so long. I think it’s a great move for Test cricket and hopefully it will bring crowds back to the ground,” he said.
Internationally, there have been 11 day-night Tests so far since the first between Australia and New Zealand in 2015. The most recent day-night Test took place in January this year between Australia and Sri Lanka in Brisbane.
India were approached to play a day-night Test during their tour of Australia last year but the country declined the offer at that time, asserting that sighting the ball becomes a problem after it gets old under floodlights.