India Embrace Pink Ball Cricket

Change is something the BCCI has constantly shied away from.

T-20 cricket.

DRS. (Decision Review System)

Currently, the Day-Night Test matches.

These are changes and technological advancements made in the game of cricket which the BCCI looked on with a sense of scepticism. India and its cricket fraternity were reluctant to embrace these changes.

English and Australian domestic cricket have embraced T20 in the early 2000s and the first T20 international was played on 17 February 2005 between Australia and New Zealand. But India played its first T20 international in December 2006. It was India’s only T20 game until they played the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa.

The Indian victory in 2007 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg changed India’s attitude towards the shortest format of the game. A year later, we witnessed the birth of the Indian Premier League . It has completely changed the landscape of Indian cricket. Not only has it become a source of livelihood for domestic players, but it has also brought in new blood into the Indian cricket team.

Moving on to the DRS; in recent times it has been fondly dubbed the ‘Dhoni Review System’ for his knack of making the right judgement while using the technology. But his reluctance to use the DRS in the matches is also legendary. He criticised the system saying it was not completely reliable.

The instruments used in the decision making malfunctioning was one of the major reasons behind it. The hawk-eye used to track the trajectory was not taking into consideration the deviations of the ball and vagaries of the pitch. The hot-spot brightening up and the snicko showing spikes even with a gap in bat and ball, and the ambiguity of umpire’s call made India hesitant to adopt the technology. Though today, with changes in rules and improvement in technology India has adopted the DRS even in the IPL.

A trend seems to emerge from the above instances. Sceptical at first, but once the Indian cricket players adapt to it, they take it like fish to water. The Day-Night Test match too had to traverse this journey before being green-lighted by the BCCI. It is a modern twist to the oldest form of the game.

Though mooted in 2011, the first day-night Test match was played at Adelaide from 27 November 2015 between Australia and New Zealand. The Day-Night format over a period of four years has had a history of eleven games. But India was hesitant to join the bandwagon. It was only a change in the regime that has made it possible.

India will play its first ever Day-Night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens. Twelfth overall. Sourav Ganguly after becoming the BCCI President made the quick decision to get India on board. Ganguly is always one to bring about a change. As a player and captain, he transformed the way India approached cricket. He taught India how to win abroad. Taking over reigns amidst a match-fixing scandal he brought back the respectability to Indian cricket.

He has acceded to the Presidency of the BCCI after the Justice Lodha reforms enacted by the Supreme Court and has immediately brought in changes. The introduction of Day-Night Test cricket to India is one such move. He has created a buzz around it and painted the city of Kolkata pink. The full capacity crowds at Eden Gardens and tickets being sold out for the first three days of the match are a testament to his ability to turn things around.

Will the momentum sustain once the format shifts back to the more traditional format of Test cricket? It remains to be seen. And for the next five days, all Indian cricketing fans will have their eyes on the happenings in Kolkata as history is being made. Though the change in format was made to bring crowds back to Test cricket, it should not become the preferred format of the game.

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