Australia, New Zealand seek India’s okay for Day/Night Tests

Positive discussions between the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and Cricket Australia (CA) on Monday on pink-ball matches could open a new chapter for Test cricket involving India in the Trans-Tasman region.
A general view of the sunset during the first day night test match in Perth day one of the First Test match between Australia and New Zealand at Optus Stadium on December 12, 2019 in Perth(Getty Images)
A general view of the sunset during the first day night test match in Perth day one of the First Test match between Australia and New Zealand at Optus Stadium on December 12, 2019 in Perth(Getty Images)
Updated on Jan 13, 2020 08:47 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByRasesh Mandani

Positive discussions between the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and Cricket Australia (CA) on Monday on pink-ball matches could open a new chapter for Test cricket involving India in the Trans-Tasman region.

Geographical boundaries have been a key constraint in attracting sizeable Indian TV viewership for Test cricket when India tour Australia and New Zealand. Tests in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide begin at 5.30am India time while a Test in Perth means a 7.30 IST start. With New Zealand seven-and-a-half hours ahead of India, viewers must wake up in the wee hours to watch from the first ball of the day. This could be addressed, if BCCI agrees to play its first overseas day-night Test in Australia when it tours at the year end.

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BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and his colleagues will meet CA officials here on Monday. Officials from New Zealand Cricket (NZC) are also in India and Day-Night Test is on the agenda. Pink-ball Test could also prove a game changer for broadcasters who hold India rights. “With India touring Australia, they should definitely look at one or two Tests because timing definitely makes a difference,” says Rajesh Kaul, head of sports business at Sony Pictures Network (SPN), rights holders for cricket in Australia.

Kevin Roberts, CEO of Cricket Australia, was also optimistic ahead of his meeting with BCCI. He was recently quoted by Australian media as saying, “I’ve got no doubt they’ll consider playing one, and maybe even more, day-night Tests.”

Ganguly promptly accepting Day-Night Test at home, and staging a pink-ball Test early in his tenure, has got other cricket boards interested after India refused to play a pink-ball game at Adelaide during the 2018-19 Test tour.

In cricket economy, hosting India is a money spinner and for boards like NZC, which operates on limited finances, it becomes a safety valve. If the Indian team warms up to Day-Night Tests on tours, it would mean better broadcast timings and valuations.

However, it’s unlikely BCCI will commit to more than one Day-Night Test in the four-match series scheduled to be played in Australia. India is unsure how playing with the pink kookaburra ball will impact its spinners. If Ganguly gives the go ahead, it would be a start.

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Monday, December 06, 2021