Who Said What? Cricketers And Their Opinions on the Day-Night Test
India will be playing their first ever Day-Night Test at the Eden Gardens against Bangladesh starting Friday, 22 November, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Many people have hailed recently-nominated BCCI president Sourav Ganguly for pushing India to finally experiment with the format, which is being seen as a groundbreaking move to help Test cricket be more relevant in an age of falling ratings and attendances.
Different members of the cricketing fraternity have weighed in with their thoughts on the historic move.
D/N the Way Forward: Ganguly
We start with what BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said prior to the confirmation of the match against Bangladesh. "Day-night Test is the way forward. Every country has to play day-night Test, that's a long-term future for Test cricket. They (India) are a good side, they will win day-night Test matches also."
Upon the confirmation of the Test, supporters and detractors both emerged. One of the first supporters to emerge was Indian captain Virat Kohli, who according to Ganguly, took less than 3 seconds to give his approval for the game.
Ganguly has also promised that the wicket in Eden Gardens will be ‘sporting’ for the big game.
“It will be a good wicket. It all depends on how the curator prepares the wicket.”
Pink Ball Swings a Lot More: Virat Kohli
Captain Virat Kohli was asked about the historic Test in a press conference, where he gave a rather eloquent answer.
"I think it's a new way to bring excitement to Test cricket. We are all very excited about that. The pink ball I played yesterday, I felt it swings a lot more as compared to the red ball because there's extra lacquer on the ball which doesn't go away too fast. And the seam holds upright quite a bit.
"I think if the pitch has extra help for the bowlers, then the bowlers will be in the game, especially fast bowlers, throughout the course of the Test match. I don't quite know how the old ball behaves with the dew and the lacquer going off.”
Dew is a Factor: Sachin Tendulkar
The first questions around the game emerged with the possibility of dew hampering the game after sun-down. Multiple people commented on this, including Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI, “As long as dew does not become a factor, it is a good move, but if dew is going to be a factor, then seamers as well as spinners are going to find it challenging, because once the ball gets wet, neither seamers can do much, nor the spinners. So bowlers will be put under the test. But if there is no dew, then surely it is a good addition.”
Day-Night Test Will Be a Challenge for Bowlers: Laxman
Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman has weighed in on the Day/Night Test by pointing out the struggles that the circumstances can cause for bowlers.
“The most challenging part with the pink ball for the fast bowlers will be the seam, especially with the fast bowler who has the ability to land the ball consistently on-seam will not only get swing in the air but will expect to get more movement from the conditions."
While talking about spinners like Ashwin and Jadeja, Laxman said "The spinners would want the shine of the ball to be off quickly but the pink ball will have extra layer which I feel will not be helpful for the spinners and more of a challenge for both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Another challenging factor will be the dew factor because even in one-day games during second innings the spinner has struggled to bowl, so during the Test, if the ball is wet and the seam is flat it will be difficult for them to grip the ball."
It is a New Challenge: Ajinkya Rahane
The dew concerns didn’t die with Tendulkar, with even Test vice-captain AJinkya Rahane saying that ‘dew will be an unknown factor’. Rahane also spoke about the possible difficulties that the teams will have adjusting to the pink ball.
“It is a new challenge, we don’t know how things will pan out. But two-three practice sessions before the match will give us a fair idea about the pink ball – how much it swings, how the ball plays session wise. Playing the ball late and close to the body will be the key. I don’t think we will have much trouble adapting to the pink ball.” he added.
Indian cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara weighed in on the visibility issues that may happen at night. “Visibility is not an issue during the day, it will be an issue in twilight and under lights, the twilight could be a little difficult. Those sessions will be crucial.”
Changing Light and Dew Will Challenge Batsmen: Kumar Sangakkara
Former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara also gave his two cents on the upcoming Test, pointing out how the batsmen will be challenged due to the conditions.
“The batsmen might face challenges with changing light and the dew factor will affect the condition, and it will be interesting to see how the change in conditions will help the bowlers. So it's an interesting Test match to be part of as there are lots of questions which will be answered with the progress of the game."
I Expect Them to Play Here Next Year: Adam Gilchrist
India have been lauded internationally for the upcoming Test, too. Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has said he hopes that India and Australia will soon face-off under Day/Night circumstances, after India refused to play a Day/Night Test in their series in 2018.
"They would be here next summer after the T20 World Cup. I expect there will be a Day/Night Test there. I haven't heard from Cricket Australia but I expect there would be one," said Gilchrist. He also brought up the dew issue.
"There are going to teething issues, particularly in India with dew, working out what series, what venues and it is take a bit of time. I used to be worried about the statistic of the game, can you compare with Day/Night in twilight to batting in broad day light."
We Need to Explore Pink Ball to Promote Test Cricket: Simon Taufel
Former ICC Umpire of the Year Simon Taufel agreed with Sourav Ganguly’s belief that Day/Night Tests are required to help the popularity of Test cricket.
"We know if we don't do anything about Test cricket, it's under threat. It is facing some challenges. We could be doing a lot more to promote Test cricket. We need to explore pink ball in that aspect," Taufel said.
"Sometimes you need to try things to know whether they work or they don't. Pink ball cricket is something that needs to be explored before we take it off the table," said the 48-year-old Australian.
Many experts and former cricketers chimed in on Twitter too. Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra thanked Ganguly for making it happen.
Statistician Mohandas Menon chose to comment on Eden Gardens penchant for being the host to historic firsts in Indian cricket.
Commentator and analyst Harsha Bhogle also tweeted about Ganguly’s role in making India’s first Day/Night Test happen.
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