Sunil Gavaskar on day-night Test, first-class cricket and IPL

While Eden Gardens was full, it would be interesting to find out how many actually turned up after office hours for India's first day/night Test in Kolkata.

A view of the action under floodlights on the first day of the first pink ball day-night Test match between India and Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.   -  K. R. Deepak

The pink ball Test was a resounding success with a huge crowd turning up. The game itself was pretty disappointing as Bangladesh were blown away once again by the Indian pacers.

There was nothing in the pitch for the pacers but so good has their rhythm been and so good has the catching in the slip cordon been that the Bangladesh batsmen just had no clue. Sadly, their application and determination left a lot to be desired too.

Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami bowled well, but they themselves will admit that this was not the sternest of opposition for them. Still full marks to them for not taking their feet off the neck of the oppositions and not allowing the lower order batsmen to delay the end of the innings as has happened in the past.

India vs Bangladesh Test series: Talking points

While the ground was full it would be interesting to find out how many actually turned up after office hours. For, that is the main intent of the day/night Test — to have office-goers come and watch the game after work.

IPL trading window

The week before that was the closure of the window for IPL franchises to transfer and release the players they did not want to retain. There was no surprise to see that among those released were the so-called magicians and mystery bowlers who were bought for unreal figures in the auction.

One bowler who was bought at over ₹8 crore played only two matches. So he got ₹4 crore for each match that he played in the IPL; and he is an uncapped player who does not even play first-class cricket. How unfair is that to those first-class players who slog for almost 50 playing days every season for a mini fraction of that kind of amount.

Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan genius, has coached Mumbai Indians, the defending IPL champion, to two titles.   -  PTI


Sourav Ganguly has said that he will look at the first-class cricketers’ fees and it will be interesting to see how much he is able to raise that for these players who really are the ones keeping India’s domestic cricket going.

More than that there is a need to have a limit as to how much an uncapped player can earn. At the risk of repeating myself, in the auction if franchises are still interested in an uncapped player after his salary cap is reached they should give their bids in a sealed envelope and the extra money over and above the salary cap should be used by the BCCI to augment its funds to pay the first-class player.

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This would only be fair as otherwise the first-class player feels like he is the poor cousin of Indian cricket.

There have been changes in the coaching staff as well and once again it's dominated by overseas guys not from the sub-continent. Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan genius, has coached Mumbai Indians, the defending champion, to two titles. This only shows that if franchises are not swayed by the management talk that most overseas coaches indulge in, they would be able to get coaches nearer home. Such people would also have a better idea of the talent in India.

Seven Indian players have to be included in the playing XI and how would the overseas guys know about the domestic Indian players? That’s how players get picked for humongous figures. The scouts also need to be answerable to the franchise owners as to how they can encourage the bidding of such players.

For far too long the IPL has been used on and off the field by most, if not all, overseas players, coaching staff and commentators as a cash cow without much respect or commitment towards the country that’s giving them a handsome source of revenue after their retirement from the game.

Yet, India, being large-hearted, as always, opens its arms and welcomes them. That’s why Mera Bharat Mahaan.

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