Team India is all set to usher in a new era when they make their debut in the Pink Ball Day/Night Test against the visiting Bangladesh unit at the iconic Eden Gardens on Friday, November 22. The fact that India would play a Day/Night Test was only a dream a month ago, but with the sparse crowd turning up in the recently concluded Test series against South Africa, debates had galore as to what should be done to bring the fans back to the stadium to watch the longest format of the game.
Sourav Ganguly’s appointment as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) gave it the much-needed impetus. And following a ‘three-second‘ approval by the Indian captain Virat Kohli and an equally resounding reply by the Bangladeshi counterparts, preparations to set-up a Day-Night Test at the Eden Gardens were set rolling. And, now it has been confirmed that the first four days of the Test match have been sold out, with more than 50,000 fans set to throng the stadium.
Rahul Dravid’s view on the matter
Former Indian captain and the current Head of the National Cricket Academy Rahul Dravid doesn’t think so! According to him, day-night Test is not the only solution in rejuvenating the format and that the authorities need to look at improving the fan experience by providing them basic amenities like the toilet during the Test match.
“It is not the only solution to rejuvenate Test cricket, but it is one of the things we need to do. If only we are able to control dew, the pink-ball Test can become an annual feature in India,” Dravid said at an event in Singapore as quoted by ESPNCricinfo. The Indian administrators have been notorious in the past for turning a blind eye towards the spectators.
A more glaring example of it was on full show during the Pune Test between India and South Africa where the fans were left exposed to the excruciating heat thanks to the uncovered stands of the MCA Stadium. Dravid alluded to the same, encouraging the administrators to provide the basic things like toilets, seating and car parking arrangements to make it a hassle-free affair for the fans.
“However, a number of other factors need to be looked into while trying to understand why Test cricket fails to attract crowds, including facilities available for fans inside the stadium. The Pune Test between India and South Africa in October was one in which those in the crowd complained about the lack of basic facilities for fans across five days. Basic things like toilets, seating, car parking need to be looked into, these are things that will draw [more people],” Dravid further added.
Need to have a fixed Test match calendar- Rahul Dravid
Recently, Virat Kohli had alluded that like Australia and England, India needed to have five-Test match centres. Dravid, however, suggested that India needs to have a fixed Test match calendar so that the fans can plan for the event a year in advance, as the Australians and Englishman do when it comes to the Lord’s Test or the Boxing day Test.
“You can argue that the Ashes are always full and that Test cricket is in good health in England and Australia, but that’s because they have a Test cricket calendar and we don’t. People can plan for a Boxing Day Test in December and a Lord’s Test in July a year ahead. We need this to happen in Indian cricket,” India’s former captain said.
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