For BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, the words of encouragement from his peers and seniors will be a huge boost. It was a step into the unknown when he announced that India would be playing a pink-ball Test. On day two, he sat in the president’s box in the Club House and watched the match. Even as he spoke to THE WEEK, he kept a keen eye on the field.
Satisfied that his team could pull off the inaugural day-night Test, Ganguly said he could convince his BCCI colleagues to have at least one day-night Test in a series from now on. The key, however, would be to market Test cricket, which board officials have shied away from in the past. Excerpts from an interview:
What is your overall observation about this day-night Test?
You all [saw] 60,000 people every day. I am pretty upbeat about it. I feel this is the way forward. Not every Test, but at least one Test in a series.
Shouldn't the effort you put into marketing the Eden Gardens Test be a lesson for all state associations?
Yes, I will share my experiences with the board and we will try and implement it in other places.
But do you see state associations accepting day-night Tests?
After this, everyone is ready. Nobody wants to play Test cricket in front of 5,000 people.
The gap between the top four teams and the rest is so wide. Is that a bigger challenge? How does a day-night Test getting over in three days help Test cricket?
Bigger teams will come. England [will come] next year, [and] matches will not get over in two days.
But are you concerned by the gap you see between teams?
Of course. But they (weaker teams) have to keep improving. There is a simple way to close the gap—just improve your skills. Because, at the end of the day, you have to bat and you have to bowl.
Are you satisfied with the way the pink ball behaved?
It will only get better if you keep using it. It has done nothing different from the red ball. The new ball swung, the old ball was easier to play. The second new ball, too, did more, but it will settle down after 10 overs. That much you have to play, but once you get in, the return is a lot more.
Does the Virat Kohli-led team remind you of teams such as Steve Waugh’s Australia of the 2000s?
I do not really believe in comparing. They are a very good side, a super team, but we cannot compare generations.
India is at the top of the World Test Championship table with 360 points. Do you think there needs to be stronger competition?
At some point, we will play stronger teams such as England, New Zealand and Australia. We go to Australia next year [and it] will be a good series.
Cricket Australia and captain Tim Paine want India to play a day-night Test during the 2020 tour there. Would the BCCI agree?
We will see. We will talk to the board members. It is too early to take a call.