KOLKATA, November 21: Indian cricket will finally embrace the pink revolution after initial reluctance when Virat Kohli’s seemingly infallible galacticos lock horns with a deflated Bangladesh in their maiden Day/Night Test starting on Friday.
It took India a new BCCI regime under maverick former captain Sourav Ganguly to take the pink ball plunge, a good seven years after the International Cricket Council approved the format to revive interest in Tests.
Ganguly convinced the Bangladesh Cricket Board to agree to a Day/Night Test just a few days before their team was to land in India.
Australia had proposed a Day/Night Test at the same venue against India last year but the wary tourists didn’t agree to the proposal.
At home too, the Indians were not open to the idea until Ganguly stepped into the picture within a week of taking charge of the BCCI.
The bone of contention was the SG pink ball, which many still believe is difficult to sight after sunset. Add to it the dew factor, which players believe aggravates the bowlers’ problems.
But Ganguly found Kohli on the same page and the current Indian captain took just “three seconds” to agree to the Board President’s idea.
So far, the build-up to the Test has been smooth. A sellout crowd for the first four days has been managed, something that has been the primary goal of playing the traditional format under lights.
Amid all the hype, there is also the small matter of India bracing up for a 12th successive home series victory.
The challenge for the players would be when the dew comes in to play after the sun sets early and it remains to be seen how both the teams and the groundsmen cope with the pink ball.
The Cricket Association of Bengal has made all efforts to turn the match into a carnival for fans with several gimmicks. So, there are pink-ball mascots.
The menacing pace attack of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav wrapped up the Indore Test inside three days with an innings and 130 runs victory — the 10th innings win for India.
The pace attack along with the blazing form of the new-found opening duo — Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal — has been the story of the season in Indian cricket.
The pacers took 14 wickets in Indore and none of them look like they would need the additional movement or help from the pink ball to wreak havoc at the Eden Gardens.
Already at the top of the World Test Championship standings, India would look to consolidate their position after another series victory.
While a handful of Indian players have pink-ball experience, having played three domestic seasons of Duleep Trophy under lights, the Bangladeshi squad would be facing the challenge for the first time.
Bangladesh have struggled in batting and only Mushfiqur Rahim posted a 50-plus score in the Indore Test.
Having been handed the captaincy after Shakib Al Hasan’s suspension for failure to report corrupt approaches, Mominul Haque is struggling to handle the pressure, made worse by his batsmen’s continuing flop-show.
In such a gloomy scenario, the skipper may find some inspiration from his pacers, especially Abu Jayed, who impressed in the Indore Test. (PTI)
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, Mamata Banerjee to attend India’s first-ever Day-Night pink ball Test
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will attend the opening day of India’s first-ever Day-Night Test match against Bangladesh at iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata from November 22.
A special flight of Biman Bangladesh – Bangladesh’s national airlines carrying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her entourage will depart Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 10 a.m on Friday and is expected to land at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Kolkata at 10:25am (IST).
Sheikh, who will be in Kolkata for a day-long visit on Friday, is scheduled to reach Eden Gardens at around 12:15pm before she will ring the ceremonial bell alongwith Banerjee at 12:30pm–the time of the toss.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister will stay only to watch the first session of the first day of the match. Later in the day, she is also expected to hold a meeting with Banerjee where issues like Teesta water sharing is likely to be discussed.
The Pink ball Test match will be the second Test of the ongoing two-match series against Bangladesh. According to reports, Army paratroopers are likely to fly into the Eden Gardens to hand over a pink ball each to the two skippers prior to the toss.
Meanwhile, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is also planning to felicitate Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, ace tennis star Sania Mirza, Rio Olympic silver-medallist P.V. Sindhu and six-time boxing world champion MC Mary Kom among others.
In November 2015, Australia and New Zealand played the first-ever pink ball Test match at the Adelaide Oval.
So far, 11 Day/Night Tests have been played worldwide.
India, who are currently ranked at the top spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings, will become the ninth country to play under lights in the longest format of the game.
The Kohli-led side is currently leading the two-match series 1-0 after clinching a comprehensive win by an innings and 130 runs in the opening Test at the Holkar stadium in Indore.