India vs Bangladesh: ‘Pink ball Test not the only solution’ - Dravid on how to improve Test cricket’s health
Ind vs Ban: Former India captain and Nation Cricket Academy chief Rahul Dravid feels that cricket with pink balls is the right way to go for Indian cricket but it will not be enough to bring the crowd back into the stadiums to watch Test cricket.Updated: Nov 20, 2019 08:41 IST
As Indian cricket gets ready for its first day-night Test match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, there is a lot of anticipation among fans about the longest format’s newest avatar. Fans, administrators and former cricketers are keenly watching how Day/Night Test cricket rejuvenates the sport’s oldest format in India at a time when spectator interest is continuously fading.
Former India captain and Nation Cricket Academy chief Rahul Dravid feels that cricket with pink balls is the right way to go for Indian cricket but it will not be enough to bring the crowd back into the stadiums to watch Test cricket.
“It is not the only solution to rejuvenate Test cricket, but it is one of the things we need to do. If only we are able to control dew, the pink ball Test can become an annual feature in India,” Dravid told the Economic Times.
Dravid, India’s second highest run-getter in Test cricket, stressed on the need for improved facilities for fans to get them to come to the stadiums and watch matches.
“You make it tough for the bowlers when the ball gets wet and takes the swing away... it (pink ball) is a novelty that will attract people to the stadium and must be tried. Basic things like toilets, seating, car parking need to be looked into, these are things that will draw,” said Dravid.
Dravid also spoke about the boom in internet and television which has led to spectators watching matches at home or on mobile phones and not feeling teh need to come to stadiums.
“When we say there were 1,00,000 people at the Eden Gardens in 2001, we are missing the point. At that time, there was no HD television that could guarantee you a better experience at home, there was no cricket on mobile, and if you wanted to catch the action, you had to make it to the ground,” he said.
Unlike Australia and England, India does not have Test cricket calendar and that according to Dravid should be looked into by the BCCI for fans to plan their visits to the stadium better.
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“Things are different now and it is important we accept the ground reality. Yes, you can argue that the Ashes are always full and that Test cricket is in good health in England and Australia, but that’s because they have a Test cricket calendar and we don’t.
“People can plan for a Boxing Day Test in December and a Lord’s Test in July a year ahead. We need this to happen in Indian cricket. Also, we need better facilities at stadiums, for fan engagement is extremely necessary to bring crowds back to the game.”