India joins cricket’s pink-ball party

AFP
November 21, 2019

KOLKATA: India will become the last major cricketing nation to enter the pink-ball Test era Friday after long resisting innovations to the five-day format.The second Test against Bangladesh in...

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KOLKATA: India will become the last major cricketing nation to enter the pink-ball Test era Friday after long resisting innovations to the five-day format.

The second Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata will be a day-night affair — partly played under floodlights, and with a pink ball rather than red for better visibility.Day-night Tests, aimed at increasing crowds and TV audiences for the five-day games, were successfully introduced in 2015 but India has balked at joining the party.

India’s new cricket chief Sourav Ganguly had to work hard to convince both teams to play under floodlights but he has now arranged a grand spectacle at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens. Virat Kohli’s India appear in little danger of losing the ground-breaking fixture, as they already lead the two-match series 1-0 after a crushing win in Indore. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has kept away from day-night Tests since the first pink ball game in Adelaide between Australia and New Zealand in 2015. It refused to play a Test under lights in Australia last year. England, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies have all played at least one day-night Test but the BCCI, by far the richest and most powerful board in world cricket, dodged it, reportedly due to a negative player feedback. It echoes India’s resistance to the Decision Review System, which it belatedly embraced years after the technology had become standard in other countries. Despite the delayed introduction, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar told AFP that the future is bright for pink-ball games. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will ring the bell at the start of the game at Kolkata’s famous Eden Gardens ground.

Meanwhile Saif Hassan, the reserve opening batsman in the Bangladesh squad, has been ruled out of the second Test against India in Kolkata. Hassan split his finger webbing while on 12th man fielding duty during the 1st Test in Indore. The injury hasn’t healed enough two days out from the match.


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