Ajay Shirke: BCCI positively inclined towards day-night Tests

"We are definitely looking forward to hosting floodlit Test matches. More than the players’ feedback, it is more about the opposition country agreeing to play which Test match and how many matches," says Ajay Shirke, the Secretary of the BCCI.

Ajay Shirke... "Pink ball is a technical term. It’s just a convention for staging Test matches in artificial light from natural light. That is the justification of the pink ball."   -  Vivek Bendre

Question: What has prompted the need for pink-ball Tests?

Answer: Pink ball is a technical term. It’s just a convention for staging Test matches in artificial light from natural light. That is the justification of the pink ball. With the hectic working schedules of today’s generation and with the rising popularity of other cricket formats, there is a dwindling popularity for Test cricket. Therefore, one of the solutions that has been identified is to go from a 9 o’clock start to a 5 o’clock start (in the evening). The idea is that by changing the playing hours from morning to evening you would get much better interest and revival of spectatorship of the game. That is the primary objective.

What has been the feedback from the players and the Cricket Association of Bengal who were involved in a local four-day game in Kolkata recently?

That pink-ball experiment is a success. There is no technical issue with the pink ball. Even the Kookaburra balls that they are using right now, their results are very good. Initially, the (technical) committee had some doubts. Our technical committee chairman (Sourav Ganguly) had expressed some concerns about flat seam, but that is not proving to be much of an issue. And anyway, other manufacturers will also slowly come on the scene.

How crucial will the Duleep Trophy be in that aspect?

The Duleep Trophy will give all our top players a feel of the pink-ball conditions. It will be a good opportunity for them to get used to what could increasingly be the trend in the coming years.

Are you sure that India will host its first floodlit Test match this season or will it depend on the players’ feedback after the Duleep Trophy?

There is no question of players’ feedback. It is up to the touring board to agree to the proposal to play the day-night Test match.

Is the BCCI looking at staging just one day-night Test match or can we see more than one this season?

We are definitely looking forward to hosting floodlit Test matches. More than the players’ feedback, it is more about the opposition country agreeing to play which Test match and how many matches. Many countries may not agree to play even a single day-night Test match. It will all be decided soon when all of us meet and discuss on the sidelines of the ICC Annual meeting. We will have clarity on it well before the season starts.