The Cricket Association of Bengal has taken the lead in organising the first ever day-night multi-day pink ball cricket match in the country with two city-based clubs, Bhawanipore Club and Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, locking horns in the four-day Super League final at the Eden Gardens here from June 18 to 21.
Since the Eden Gardens is the front-runner to host the proposed first ever day-night Test in India later this year, the CAB is promoting the Super League final, to be telecast live on Star Sports, in a big way and is keen to gain some valuable experience.
“Let's see the problems and try to address it and fix it in six months' time,” said CAB president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly at an event to promote the event here on Thursday.
Giving instances of how Test matches being marketed in England and Australia, Ganguly said: "It is about marketing. I cannot believe (Virat) Kohli standing up against Jimmy Anderson and people not coming (to watch). Pink ball is the way forward (in Test cricket). You have to find a way to bring people to the ground. Everything needs a bit of innovation. Nobody thought Indian Premier League (IPL) would be so popular till it came into being.”
World Cup winning Australian cricketer Dean Jones, who worked as a commentator during the first ever pink ball Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide in last November, said the experience was thrilling.
“There were 3.6 to 3.7 million followers. Test is still a premium format in Australia. It's not just the pink ball, it is the experience, the entertainment, attached to a Test match that is making it better.”
A prolific middle order batsman of yesteryear, V. V. S. Laxman said challenges of playing the pink ball could be easily handled.
“In 1998, we were playing a Test match in New Zealand and four days were washed out. For the spectators, we decided to play a one-day match in white clothes and red ball and that too under lights. Mind is so powerful, it can conquer any challenge.”
Ganguly shared his experience of playing with the pink ball.
“When I was captaining MCC five seasons ago in Dubai, I had no problem in sighting it. Sehwag got a hundred. The brightness was a lot of better.”
The trio stressed that adaptability would be the key in pink ball cricket, which had the potential to bring back fans to the stands for the longer version of the game.
“Pink is the new red. Trust me,” quipped Jones.
Amidst speculation that the Kookaburra balls may not last longer in Indian conditions, the CAB has bought some for the Super League final.
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