Sport

Pink-ball Test underlines India’s growing proficiency in the format

Sight to behold! The spectators at the Eden Gardens were treated to some sensational stuff by the Indians.

Sight to behold! The spectators at the Eden Gardens were treated to some sensational stuff by the Indians.   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

While heartening to note that India has added muscle to its game, the lopsided series against Bangladesh, West Indies and South Africa does not augur well for the health of the longer version of the game

India’s annihilation of Bangladesh in the two-match Test series, preceded by the series against West Indies and South Africa, may underscore its authoritative position in the five-day game, but it also indicates the sliding standards of some Test-playing nations.

While it is heartening to note that India has added muscle to its game, the three lopsided series does not augur well for the health of the longer version of the game.

Indian batsmen getting plenty of runs and the bowlers, especially the pace unit, destroying the opposition is good news for the team, which is due to travel to New Zealand to play two Tests in the summer of the southern hemisphere.

Notwithstanding the colour of the ball, Bangladesh was no match for India in the just-concluded Test series. It struggled in all departments, showing that it was ill-prepared for the challenges on the tour.

Repeat

The Indore story was repeated in Kolkata, the touring batsmen standing exposed while tackling the pink ball under lights. No surprise, the match was over in a little over two days.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly pushing to make the second Test versus Bangladesh a day-night contest was understandable as it was India’s last home match of the season.

The decision, because of which the day-night engagement was held in less than a month’s time of Ganguly assuming charge, was coupled with the masterstroke of inviting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It gave the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and its players neither the option to say no nor the time to prepare for the pink-ball duel.

Ironically, Virat Kohli had resisted playing a pink-ball Test on India’s last tour of Australia due to his team’s lack of preparation.

Two concussion replacements (Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan) and two other scares of similar nature (Mushfiqur Rahim and Al-Amin Hossain) in the match raised concerns about the sighting the pink ball, but it obviously happened due to the batsmen’s poor technique in handling India’s high-quality pace trio.

Thankfully, the International Cricket Council's concussion rule — which has players’ safety at heart like other disciplines such as motorsports, boxing and hockey — allowed Bangladesh the replacements and prevented the Test from earning the dubious distinction of getting over inside two days.

Maximising appeal

Notwithstanding the huge attendance at the Eden Gardens, such one-sided affairs may harm Test cricket in the early days of pink-ball cricket. What might have drawn a large number of spectators to the iconic venue was the novelty factor surrounding day-night Tests.

Even as Ganguly and Kohli are convinced that the pink-ball contest is a step in the right direction to revive Test cricket, the BCCI can maximise its appeal by slotting occasional day-night contests against top sides in front of discerning crowds.

Kohli’s argument for conducting Tests at bigger centres sounds logical at least in this context.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 4:34:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/pink-ball-test-underlines-indias-growing-proficiency-in-the-format/article30078852.ece

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