In a first of its kind in India, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) will be organising the four-day final of the pre-season S. K. Acharya Memorial Trophy (Ranji Pre-season tournament) where pink balls will be used and the match will be played under floodlights.
The final match of four-team tournament will be played at the Eden Gardens from October 1-4. Bengal A, Bengal B, Odisha and Jharkhand are the four participating teams in the tournament that begins on September 15.
Pink balls have been used in Australian domestic circuit strictly on experimental basis while one of the opening games in an English County few years back was also played with pink balls.
CAB treasurer and member of the BCCI’s NCA sub-committee member Biswarup Dey revealed the elaborate plans.
“Day/Night first-class matches are way forward and we wanted to be the first in India to try it out on an experimental basis. The players will be wearing white clothing and pink balls will be used. The sightscreen will be black,” Dey told PTI over phone from Kolkata.
Dey informed that he has already placed an order for pink balls with noted Australian ball manufacturing company Kookaburra.
“We have ordered for four dozens of pink balls. Each ball will cost us approximately Rs. 6,500. It means we will be spending close to Rs. 3.12 lakh for importing these balls. The idea is to provide the teams with enough pink balls so that they can use them during net practise as a preparation for the final,” Dey said
Just like Hyderabad CA organises Moin-Ud Dowla Gold Cup, Tamil Nadu CA holds Buchi Babu and KSCA tournament, CAB has started S. K. Acharya Challenger Trophy as a preparatory tournament for Bengal’s Ranji squad.
Jharkhand and Odisha will be sending their Ranji teams for the tournament.
The CAB is also trying some strategies to promote the event. Back in 1991, in Kolkata (Calcutta then) the ‘Cricket Derby’ between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal was played under floodlights with around 35,000 people buying tickets to watch the match. Sachin Tendulkar played for East Bengal while Javagal Srinath opened the bowling for Mohun Bagan.
“We will be trying to keep some very cheap tickets so that it can attract a decent crowd. Even if 20,000-25,000 people turn up on one of the days, it will be great. We are planning to speak to some Bengali channels to see whether they can show some highlights or selected clippings of the match,” Dey said.