There is enough money in the BCCI coffers to burn. Or so its critics believe.
Even as the Board evades questions on why an entourage of officials travelled to the US to witness the two T20Is between India and West Indies while its (and state bodies’) lack of accountability is under criticism from the Lodha panel and Supreme Court, there are fresh questions over its use of pink balls in the long format, especially Duleep Trophy.
When Australia started to began experiment a couple of years back in Sheffield Shield, it was with the plan to host day-night Test matches and attract crowds and viewership.
Even Pakistan, whose domestic cricket in poor health, held just the final of its premier domestic event with the pink ball with an eye on the tour of Down Under, where they are to play a Test.
Others aren’t experimenting yet because there are no plans in place.
The Indian Board, caught in a web of administrative transformation, seems to have been half-hearted in its approach. Initially, there was talk of hosting a day-night Test against New Zealand. Then the plan was shelved.
The Board then organised the entire set of Duleep Trophy matches with the pink ball.
If the Duleep Trophy was meant to be a warm up and basis of selection for the New Zealand series, then the purpose was lost as the Test series will be played with the red ball.
Although BCCI president Anurag Thakur has said it will host a few Ranji games with the pink ball, there are no plans for hosting Test matches with it.
Former India player Madan Lal says this is a regressive policy.
“They (BCCI) are just copying what others are doing. They have made a mess of the Duleep Trophy already. It is your premier tournament and just a rung below the Test level. They should have first experimented with it in Ranji Trophy and other lower level domestic events. They need to realise that this gimmickry won’t return Tests or the long format to primacy. They need to bring out quality cricket for that. You can’t have Tests finish inside three days and say people aren’t interested. They need to prepare better pitches, instead of getting into such gimmicks,” he says, adding that the quality of pitches in domestic cricket too hasn’t been good.
The Kookaburra ball costs between Rs 8,000-10,000, and by importing close to 250 balls for Duleep Trophy, the Board has spent quite a bit of money. Similar would be for Ranji. But where is this all leading to? Even top BCCI officials don’t know.