IND vs BAN: Day/Night Tests can't be staple diet for cricketers, says Virat Kohli
While day-night Tests in Australia have been a roaring success, the same can't be said in England, which hasn't hosted a night game since 2017
Kolkata: It wasn't until November 2015, and match number 2190, that the first ever day-night Test, with a pink ball, was staged at the Adelaide Oval, between Australia and New Zealand. Since then, there have been a further 10 Tests under lights as authorities seek to maintain the primacy of Test cricket and address the perceived problem of dwindling audiences.
While day-night Tests in Australia have been a roaring success, the same can't be said in England, which hasn't hosted a night game since 2017. South Africa have abandoned plans to build on their only pink-ball home Test, against Zimbabwe in 2017, and Bangladesh have made it clear that they have no intention of playing at home under lights, even if circumstances have driven them to accept the offer of the maiden pink-ball Test in India, at the hallowed Eden Gardens from Friday.
Against this backdrop, it was hardly surprising to hear Virat Kohli shoot down suggestions that, down the line, night games will be the staple diet in the five-day format. "I don't think so," the Indian captain said, adding with passion, "This should not become the only way Test cricket is played because then you're losing that nervousness in the first session in the morning. Yes, you can bring excitement into Test cricket, but you can't purely make Test cricket based on just entertaining people.
"The entertainment of Test cricket lies in a batsman trying to survive a session and a bowler trying to get a batsman out, and if people don't respond to that, too bad. Whoever wants to respond to that will come and watch Test cricket. If I don't like Test cricket, you can't push me to like Test cricket. This [day-night Tests] can be a one-off thing. It should not, in my opinion, become a regular thing."
While the consensus is that batting will be a big challenge, Kohli held forth on the difficulties whilst fielding. "Even catching the ball [at evening practice on Wednesday], we felt like how you feel like with the white ball in the afternoon," he observed. "You don't know how far the ball is and then it hits your hand very quickly. Even in the slips, it was flying pretty fast. The extra glaze on the ball is making it travel faster, and it hits the hands very hard.
"The dip perception was very difficult when the ball went up in the air, so I think during the day, high catches will be very difficult. But sometimes, you need to change the template and be excited for new things and new challenges that you're going to try out."
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