From the Viewsroom

In the Eden of day-night cricket

B Baskar | Updated on November 03, 2019

Sourav Ganguly has finally on-boarded India to pink ball cricket

One of the first major decisions that the newly anointed BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly took was to green-light ‘day-night’ Test matches. The first one will be played in Ganguly’s home ground — Eden Gardens, Kolkata — against Bangladesh later this month.

India has for long resisted playing ‘day-night’ Tests. Cricket Australia tried very hard to convince the BCCI to play one at Adelaide in the 2018-19 series, but in vain. So what made the Indian cricket board change its mind in just 12 months?

New man at the helm, Ganguly, is keen on bringing in fresh ideas. Also, there is this feeling that Test cricket — the game’s oldest form — is fast losing in popularity to T20 (and now, the T10). The just-concluded series against South Africa hardly drew any crowds. The fact that all three matches were played in cities which are not ‘traditional’ Test venues may have also played a part.

Indian captain Virat Kohli made an eminently sensible suggestion a few days ago, of confining Test matches to the five ‘traditional’ centres — Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and New Delhi. Smaller centres can be allotted ODIs and T20 matches, which are guaranteed to bring in crowds. Of course, to guarantee crowds for Test matches, the quality of the opposition also matters. An India-Australia or India-England Test match will always attract more crowds than one against any other nation.

Ganguly also made another relevant point recently on better scheduling of test matches to ensure that they don’t clash with T20 cricket. He specifically referred to last year’s India-Australia Adelaide Test, which clashed with the ‘Big Bash’.

But we must also be a little realistic about Test cricket — it is a niche segment within the cricketing firmament and will always draw fewer crowds than its more glamorous cousins T20 and T10. So even in traditional Indian Test centres, an average crowd of 15,000 per day should ensure the survival of Test cricket.

The writer is Senior Deputy Editor with BusinessLine

Published on November 03, 2019

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