Towards revival of Test Cricket..

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Prakash Bansal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced that it would be hosting its first pink-ball Test match later this year, when New Zealand come calling on a full tour.The use of the “Kookaburra” ball will be quite a departure for the BCCI, given that India has traditionally used the red “SG Test” balls in home Test matches.

The BCCI’s day-night move shouldn’t come as a surprise. Earlier this year, the Board’s tours and fixtures committee was exploring options to bring more fans to the Tests in the upcoming season. It also has the backing of India’s Test captain Virat Kohli.

Interestingly, India was among the earliest countries to experiment day-night, long-form cricket, when in 1997, the Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Delhi were played under lights at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium at Gwalior. The players sported coloured clothing and used white balls.

To be sure, there are some reservations.

One of the biggest concerns about a day-night match in India is the dew, which could have a significant bearing on the last session of play, making the pitch more batsman-friendly. Even in the 1997 Ranji Trophy final, with heavy dew on the outfield in evenings, the ball was changed every 15 overs. The match itself was a run-a-thon, with 1100+ runs scored over the five-days. Mumbai were declared winners on the basis of their first innings lead

Going by how the Indian audience consumes its cricket, with a clear preference for attending matches in the evening (post-work), day-night tests should be a big success. But it needs smart marketing by the BCCI, similar to what it does with the Indian Premier League (IPL) to draw in the crowds. Just like it did with the IPL when the league first started, there’s a novelty factor about these day-night matches in their early, experimental days, which could draw in the crowd. As it did in Australia, when over 123,000 fans thronged to the Adelaide Oval to watch the first-ever day-night Test match.

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