Spectators enjoying the Australia-Pakistan day-night Test at Brisbane in 2016 (Image courtesy: AFP)
Spectators enjoying the Australia-Pakistan day-night Test at Brisbane in 2016 (Image courtesy: AFP)

India are the cricket powerhouse. Not only is Team India the number-one ranked Test side but also the nation that contributes massively to the revenue generated by the sport. Day-and-night Tests have taken the world by the storm. Earlier this week, England in its close to 140-year-old Test cricket journey, played and hosted their first-ever day-night Test. Pink-ball cricket finally made its way to the usually conservative England. Australia were the first side to try this out in 2015 when they invited New Zealand to play a Test at the Adelaide Oval. So far, Australia have hosted 3 since (Brisbane being the other venue). Dubai hosted a Pakistan-West Indies Test that ended in a nail-biter. Now it was Edgbaston s time. New Zealand may go on to be the fourth nation to try this out. Former Australian captain Ian Chappell questioned India s reluctance for the same. ALSO READ: Ian Chappell hints David Warner will be labelled greedy and loud-mouthed if runs elude him

In a column published in the mid-day, Chappell mentioned, England has joined a gradually expanding band of day-night Test converts, with the concept having already been successfully trialled in Australia and by Pakistan in the UAE. New Zealand is hoping to be the fourth country to join the list in 2018, so the question arises: ‘When will India schedule a day-night Test match?’ The timing would be perfect for India. They currently have a strong Test side consistently performing well. Test cricket in India needs resuscitating, as it does in most countries outside England and Australia.

Chappell accused Indian cricket governing body BCCI for not maintaining high standards despite being a powerhouse.

Emphasising on the fact that the game cannot be run on the basis of only T20s, he further writes, It’s crucial for the game that the Indian administrative body is seen as a good corporate citizen. Despite occasional murmurings about Test cricket being important, the message emanating from India’s administration seems to be the glorified stature of IPL and their proposed expansion of the glitzy tournament will only serve to confirm this opinion.

I suspect there are many administrators not just in India who believe the game can survive on T20 alone. I tend to disagree, whilst admitting it’s becoming ever harder to predict what might happen in the future with technology moving at space travel speed. If cricket in the future is played by two teams featuring artificially intelligent players and adjudicated by robot umpires, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be programmed to play five days.

World Championship for Tests

Chappell pondered on the thought of World Championship for Test cricket, and believes it could only be commercially viable if it has India s backing.

Playing under lights, combined with a move to four day games Thursday to Sunday to enhance the product for television, would be the ideal format for an exciting World Championship, which would inject much-needed life into the longer version. However, like most things in the game of cricket it won’t become a reality unless it gets the seal of approval from India.

Day-night Tests in India’s traditional cricket season (winter) would be ideal. In the northern regions in particular, it gets dark early and this allows for a number of hours of floodlight play as compared with say England where the natural light lingers. The prospect of heavy dew is an irritant but this problem could be overcome by smart scheduling and improvements in technology.

Our view: India have had its tryst with pink-ball cricket. Under the guidance of Sourav Ganguly, the final of the Bengal league was played under lights with pink ball in Eden Gardens last year. Post that, even the Duleep Trophy tournament was staged in Greater Noida under the lights. Despite the experiments, BCCI haven t shown enough confidence in pink ball cricket despite it garnering good response elsewhere. Chappell is right. Without India s backing, the future of day-night Tests could be bleak and it s the right time for BCCI to give it a try.