Kolkata: When Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Dean Jones went about 'demystifying' the pink ball yesterday, the air of optimism was understandable.
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly (right) throws a pink ball towards ex-Australia batsman Dean Jones as VVS Laxman (second from right) Mohd Shami look on at Eden Gardens yesterday. Pic/PTI
The first day-night Test match is done and a few more have been lined up. Perhaps more significantly, the Indian Board has declared intent by earmarking the Duleep Trophy for the 'experiment' and planning a pink-ball Test in the coming season.
The Cricket Association of Bengal has quickly seized the opportunity to add another 'first in the country' by deciding to make the four-day final of the premier league a day-night affair.
Dean Jones pointed to the "the tremendous amount of interest" that the first pink-ball Test generated in Australia. "There were 3.6 to 3.7 million following the Test," he reminded.
Sighting the ball is one of the key concerns, but Sourav was around to allay fears.
"I could see the ball better than a red one at day or a white one at night," said the former India skipper, who had led the MCC in a pink-ball match in Dubai five seasons ago. "On an overcast day in England, the blackish red Dukes ball is very difficult to pick up."
All three were of the opinion that Test cricket should take the plunge, and the course corrections can be done later. "But for the length of the wicket, every law in cricket has been changed at least once; we can keep doing that," Dean Jones reminded.
Laxman pointed out that playing to packed galleries is one of the great joys of a sportperson. "Day-night Tests will make it convenient for the spectators to attend," he reminded.
Dean Jones added a catchline. "Pink is the new red," he said, but added: "Of course, pink ball alone won't save Test cricket; it's about the entire experience, a night out for the spectators."
After the three cricket stars, prodded by Harsha Bhogle, had delved into the topic, the verdict emanating from the indoor coaching facility of the Eden Gardens, done up for the discussion, was clear — the pink ball is here to stay.
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