Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

Virat Kohli unconvinced about day-night Test as paratroopers and pink ball await in Kolkata

Grand plans in place as India and Bangladesh prepare for their first ever Test under lights

The Indian cricket board and organisers in Kolkata are leaving no stone unturned as they prepare for the first ever pink-ball Test between India and Bangladesh on Friday.

The cricket association of Bengal and Indian board chief Sourav Ganguly – who hails from the city – have made grand plans to ensure the first day-night Test in the country gets a rousing start. And judging by the response of fans, it has worked already with the first four days of the match reportedly sold out – a big achievement in the subcontinent.

The Test is set to have a grand start, with army paratroopers set to fly in and deliver the match balls to the respective captains before the toss. Also, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to ring the ‘Eden bell’ to signal the start of the match. Iconic cricketers from India and Bangladesh, along with stars from other disciplines, are also expected to be present.

But while the city of Kolkata itself is buzzing, India captain Virat Kohli played down the hype surrounding the pink-ball Test, stating that it can be a one-off but not a regular feature.

India enter the second Test with a 1-0 following their innings win in Indore. Kohli said that while good crowd attendance and high viewing figures are welcome, it should not come at the expense of the traditions of the game.

“In my opinion, this should not become the only way Test cricket is played,” Kohli said.

“Because then you are losing out on that nervousness of the first session in the morning. You can bring excitement into Test cricket but you can't purely make Test cricket based on just entertainment.

“Entertainment of Test cricket lies in the fact that a batsman is trying to survive a session and the bowler is trying to set a batsman out. If people don’t respond to that, too bad.”

The 31-year-old said that many cricket fans might never appreciate the finer aspects of Test cricket, no matter how hard one tries.

“If someone gets excitement from watching the battle between bat and ball and a great session of Test cricket, in my opinion those are the people that should come and watch Tests because they understand what’s going on. I think (day-night Tests) can be a one-off thing, it should not be a regular scenario.”

Kohli’s latest statements don’t align with what Ganguly had said earlier. The current board chief and former captain had said it took him just ‘three seconds’ to convince Kohli to play a day-night match.

“I met Virat for an hour and the first question was that we need to play day-night Test. The answer in three seconds was, ‘yes let’s go ahead and do it’.”

Updated: November 21, 2019 02:59 PM

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