The big Test lies ahead

Cricket lovers may soon get to witness day-night Tests for which the ICC has given its seal of approval. The ICC have left the choice of balls to the respective boards to decide, much like the controversial Decision Review System (DRS) which the BCCI has yet to be convinced of.

If at all India hosts day-night Tests, there will be an outcry among purists. And they could have a point, because all tampering must be done to the limited overs variety of the game. This is not to say Test cricket doesn’t need to be touched, but day-night cricket will be a huge departure from the present. It will involve coloured balls whose swing may vary from the red cherry.

Sure, crowds have dwindled at Test match level and this arm of the game would do with a fillip, but Test is followed with great intensity — on television and over the internet, never mind if there are no packed houses. The game will not be in jeopardy as long as there are keen contests between bat and ball. Gimmicks cannot come at the price of a thorough contest.

It can be recalled that the Indian cricket board tried to infuse a novelty factor in the 1996-97 Ranji Trophy final in which Mumbai and Delhi battled under lights at the Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior. That was the end of it and the annoying insects buzzing around the ground and disturbing everyone connected to the game was not the only reason. The soggy ball was a big factor.

Administrators the world over must work on making Test cricket more attractive. India can surely work on some entertainment activities on and off the field during intervals.

There is a World Test Championship plan that is expected to come to fruition in 2017. There is nothing like having two of the best Test nations battle it out for five days for a winner to emerge. That would be the best boost Test cricket can get. And it will be worth the wait. 

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