The BCCI has moved a step closer to hosting a day-night Test, with a request going across to its counterparts at the BCB for the second and final Test of the upcoming India-Bangladesh series, scheduled to be played at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, to be played under lights.
ESPNcricinfo understands that the Indian board is waiting for the go-ahead from the BCB, but preparations are already underway in Kolkata despite the inclement weather of the past few days.
BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury told reporters that discussions were on at their end. “We are having this discussion but we haven’t decided yet,” he said. “We will only decide after speaking to the players and team management.”
One of the concerns for Bangladesh is their lack of match practice with the pink balls that are used in day-night Tests – only one game has been played in the country with them, the first-class Bangladesh Cricket League final in February 2013. The Indians have also not played much with pink balls – they are the only Test-playing nation, apart from Bangladesh and the two new Full Members, Afghanistan and Ireland, to not have played a day-night Test yet.
Sujan Mukherjee, the chief curator at Eden Gardens, confirmed that the organisers had been informed about the day-night Test. “We are waiting for the final go-ahead now, but yes, we are expecting it to happen,” he said. “As such, there is nothing different for us to do. A pitch is a pitch, we are hoping to make it a sporting one, with some pace.”
That said, the weather in Kolkata has made it difficult to get going. “It has been raining intermittently for the past many days, and non-stop for the last three days. But I am sure we will have time to do a good job.”
Dew could be a factor if the game goes ahead as a day-night encounter, Mukherjee pointed out: “Only the dew could be a concern. In the evening, in November… it will mean drying the ground during the game.”
But Sourav Ganguly, the new BCCI president, has spoken of the need to evolve, calling day-night Tests “the way forward” soon after taking charge last week. He also said that he had spoken to Virat Kohli, the India captain, who was on board.
“We all are thinking about this. We will do something about this,” Ganguly said on Friday at Eden Gardens at a Cricket Association of Bengal event. “I am a big believer in day-night Tests. Kohli is agreeable to it. I see a lot of reports in newspapers that he is not, but that is not true.
“The game needs to go forward and that is the way forward. People should finish work and come to watch champions play. I don’t know when that will happen, but it will.”
Ganguly had been pushing for India to play with the pink ball even when he was head of the BCCI’s technical committee. In the past, he had recommended that the BCCI continue to invest in playing Duleep Trophy matches under lights, an experiment first used in 2016. This season the board had initially planned for the Duleep final to be a day-night affair only to change its mind at the last minute.
The Eden Gardens Test is scheduled to begin on November 22, with the series of three T20Is (Delhi – November 3, Rajkot – November 7, and Nagpur – November 10] and the first Test, in Indore from November 14, preceding it.
Updates to follow…