Sourav Ganguly © Getty Images
Sourav Ganguly © Getty Images

Test cricket has lost its charm in India. In the age of IPL, the game’s pristine format is greeted with empty stands and as a result BCCI had to take the initiative to move Test cricket to tier-2 cities to attract crowd. Test cricket is battling its younger sibling T20Is in order to sustain and pink-ball has come to its rescue. There are pink-ball Tests played around the world and even today domestic tournaments like Duleep Trophy is played with pink ball.

Sourav Ganguly is keen to make Tests flourish in India. The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President Sourav Ganguly wants to change this perception. Ganguly wants to call attention of the public to traditional form of the game, with the medium being pink-ball cricket. Prior to Duleep Trophy being played with pink-ball in 2016, it was Ganguly who introduced the concept in India by staging a 4-day club match between Mohun Began and Bhowanipore Club at the Eden Gardens. He also ensured star players played in the contest and got it televised.

Duleep Trophy was not on the radar of BCCI. Had it not been for Ganguly’s insistence, it would have shelved for this year. Although Ganguly is busy preparing for the upcoming India-Australia ODIs as CAB chief, his focus remains on Test cricket, “As far as Duleep Trophy is concerned, my view is very clear: How can you kill a tournament? It has to be discussed either in the working committee or the special AGM. You can’t chuck away a tournament one fine morning. I do understand the packed calendar, but somehow we have found a window for this and we have to keep on trying to keep it significant. And it’s not about me being a fan of the pink ball,” Ganguly told mid-day.

Drawing reference to the pink-ball Tests held in Australia and England, Ganguly further added, “The idea is to bring back crowds to Test cricket and that’s the reason the Duleep Trophy is being played under lights and with the pink ball. The first pink ball Test between 2015 Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide was houseful. The recent Birmingham Test contested by England and West Indies drew big crowds too so as an administrator; I would like to see packed houses for Test cricket.”

Bumrah in Tests?

Although Ganguly is happy with the return of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav in the ODI squad for Australia series, he wants Jasprit Bumrah to be tried in Tests soon, “The selectors have done well to bring back Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav to face one of the best teams in international cricket. Jasprit Bumrah should be tried out in a Test match. He is bowling well. He can bowl with the new and old ball and is a very successful death overs bowler. India are playing their next Test series against Sri Lanka and that too in India so they can try him to have another option.”

Eden Gardens will be hosting an ODI as well and Kolkata that is currently soaked in rains is prepared for an epic clash, “It’s still raining in Kolkata. We are ready and the outfield has been well covered, so it’s dry. Two days ago, curator Sujan Mukherji had to water the 22-yard strip despite the rain. We have introduced a modern draining system in which the water goes down very quickly.”