The dip in viewership of Test cricket is a genuine concern but with India set to play their inaugural Day-Night Test, former India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is confident of the problem being solved. BCCI president and Tendulkar’s long-time opening partner for India Sourav Ganguly in a big move, announced that the second Test between India and Bangladesh at Eden Gardens will be a day-night affair, with the former batsman expecting a healthy turnout.
To ensure India’s first-ever D/N Test doesn’t lose its sheen, the Cricket Association of Bengal have priced the match tickets as low as Rs 50 per day, and Tendulkar weighing in favour of Pink-ball Tests, believes playing under floodlights could actually result in better following of Test cricket.
“There are two ways to look at it. One aspect would be from the public point of view. It is a nice concept as people would be able to watch a Day/Night Test after their working hours. People can come in the evening and enjoy the game,” Tendulkar told PTI in an interview. “From players’ point of view, it won’t be a bad idea to play with pink ball and check how differently it behaves from the traditional red ball. It’s about getting that pink coloured ball coming to you.”
Tendulkar did, however, raise an important point regarding dew playing a factor in Day-Night Tests, stating the lesser it comes to prominence, the better it will be for the game. Kolkata’s Eden Gardens has a history of dew playing a major factor after sunset and Tendulkar is apprehensive about what it might do to the performance of bowlers.
“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,” Tendulkar added. “Because once the ball gets wet, neither seamers can do much nor the spinners. So in that way, bowlers will be put under the test. But if there is no dew, then surely it is a good addition,” the maestro said about a historic first in Indian cricket.
“I think the dew factor will play a big role over here. We need to figure out how much dew is there. The dew will determine, to what extent both teams are competing. The conditions shouldn’t hinder anything (competitiveness).”
The Pink ball, Tendulkar believes, is another crucial ingredient which India’s batsmen need to prepare for. Not many members of the Indian squad have the experience of playing with the pink ball and with no Duleep Trophy taking place, Tendulkar urged the batsmen to take a cue from the domestic player who have played FC cricket under lights.
“The batsmen will need to practice with different balls at the nets. A new pink ball, a 20-over pink ball and a 50-over pink ball and an 80-over ball. See how differently a new, semi-new and old ball behaves. Accordingly prepare your strategy. The India boys should also depend on word of mouth feedback from all those who played Duleep Trophy and they would have few things to share,” he suggested.
“It [pink ball] will help the seamers more but if you bring in quality spinner, he will find his way to bowl on that surface as well. For a spinner, it will be important to assess how much bounce is there on the surface and how much the ball is skidding. If there is too much grass, whether the ball is gripping on the surface.”