Your space: With day-night matches, Test in ‘pink’ of health, say Pune residents
India became one of the major cricketing nations to enter the pink-ball club when it played its second Test (day and night) at Eden Gardens this year. The gentleman’s game has changed its form, attire and more over the years. Our readers tell us if they think the changes can elevate popularity of Test matchesUpdated: Dec 01, 2019 16:21 IST
Over a period of time, the gentleman’s game has changed its attires and format. In today’s fast-paced world, the lifestyle doesn’t allow people to watch a game of cricket from 9 am to 4:30 pm for five consecutive five days. The shorter formats have become more viable. Pink ball cricket has managed to attract crowds to Test cricket again which is a good sign for traditional cricket, as usually the crowd tends to prefer watching T20/T10 formats. According to a study on the internet, the average crowd attendance for Test matches in India is 1,500 people, whereas for Ashes, it is 4,000. For the 2nd test between India and Bangladesh, a crowd of 35,000 people came, which is quite remarkable. Today’s generation would have seen less Tests and more T20s. To increase the popularity of the game more matches need to conducted (pink ball), but at the same time we should avoid doing this frequently.
Has added missing spice to cricket
Day-night Test cricket has added the missing spice to the longer format of the game. Cricket lovers will be able to watch at least the last session after office hours are over. Most of the day-night Test matches played so far were concluded in three or four days. It’s time for a few Test nations to show resistance and play the format to its full potential. With India finally getting into the pink-ball club, I hope the upcoming Ranji season will also feature some pink-ball day-night Test matches.
Managed to bring attention to tests
Pink ball has certainly drawn the attention of the people irrespective of their interest in cricket. For a country like India, where limited over formats, particularly T20, has severely affected Test cricket, pink ball has brought in good news for stadiums and broadcasters losing business in Test match viewership. Playing the pink ball is often cited by many veterans from the field as something which is challenging for the batsmen. I think limited over cricket fans will surely turn their attention towards Test matches in this case, as everyone would love to see the changes and challenges pink ball offers through daylight, twilight and floodlights. It may be a batsman’s day and a bowler’s night playing with a pink ball and even an average cricket fan would like to witness it. I did! Pink ball, I believe, has the capability to pull in a large number of people to Test cricket especially in its initial days, but unfortunately I don’t think it would last too long because of the heavy dominance of limited overs format. Maybe in the future when cricket authorities decide upon the fate of pink ball based on its performance, audience would for sure watch at least the night part of Test cricket and keep the format lively.
Schedule more such matches
With introduction of the pink ball test, I think cricket will become more interesting. Especially, the time frame of the play of the game is suitable for most of spectators, be it people visiting stadiums or people watching on TV. The strategy which teams have to use is different than the one used in regular Test matches. The turn/swing of the ball during various sessions of the game seems to be playing a vital role, with the pink ball offering more turn than the red ball. In this case, bowlers will get more advantage. There are some issues like visibility of the ball, but those will probably fade out slowly. In India itself, we could see the enthusiasm during the India vs Bangladesh test. The Eden Gardens was sold out for the first four days. India needs to schedule more such games against teams like Australia, England and New Zealand, to make this format even more popular. In my opinion, this will increase the number of spectators at the stadiums as the match will be played under lights. I expect more spectators to come in the 3rd session of the game every day.
Bowlers can now showcase skill
I feel that pink ball cricket will attract fans to Test matches. Reasons are pretty simple - people are not able to watch Test matches because they have to go to office during that time frame whereas in day-night Test matches, fans can visit the venue and enjoy the thrill of Test cricket in the evening. Another major reason is tough competition between bat and ball. Test cricket in the subcontinent is losing its popularity just because the game has become batsman-oriented, but with the pink ball there is equal opportunity for bowlers to showcase their skills.
Viewership graph will go upwards
Players playing with number jerseys, pink ball under lights is a great picture which nobody had imagined a few years ago. I would congratulate the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the initiative taken to take this change forward and make this format more popular across the globe. Real cricket fans earlier missed this and now since these matches will continue in the second half of the day, the viewership graph will certainly move upwards both at the stadium as well as on television. Since I run a cricket-theme cafe, commercially I would be really happy to see five days of cricket, which means there will be five days of great business as well.
Pink ball will help revive tests
Pink ball cricket will for sure bring out some positives for the game. Being played day-night, spectators will have an advance of witnessing the game post office hours. A five-day cricket game may not be everyone’s choice, but with changes like pink ball, it will definitely help in reviving the Test game. Day-night Tests if played more frequently will create an atmosphere among the crowds that prefer watching Test matches, but cannot visit stadiums due to the office or school/college hours. With the crowd-pulling capacity of Test games deteriorating, this format might work in the favour of Test cricket.
Will draw fans of other formats
Pink ball will surely have a positive impact not only on Test cricket fans, but also on fans of other formats. Despite the criticism, the introduction of day-night game in Test format is commendable. In today’s fast growing world, where others formats are having such a huge fan base, these changes will attract more attention to Test and being a great fan of the Indian team, wining this series was truly amazing. Having said that, pink ball has not only attracted Indian fans, but also has elevated the popularity and standards of new era of Test cricket format.
Doubtful if pink ball tests can help
Five years have passed since world cricket witnessed its maiden pink ball game between Australia and New Zealand and major Test playing countries have already welcomed it. Personally, I am very doubtful that pink ball will attract audiences towards Test cricket. As people are getting habitual to T20s, they don’t have enough time to go and watch a five-day Test match. So, it will be idealistic if we say that pink ball or day-night format will bring audiences back to Test cricket.
Game of skill and thrill
The pink ball has definitely got us excited. We all know that the ball does quite a lot of things under the lights when the air cools down around the pitch. This makes it a game of skill and thrill and not just mere batting dominance. The Test format will be benefited for sure as the television audience will watch it more after their routine day. However, India’s performance which has been top notch, will play a vital role in whether the Test match format gets the glory. Pink ball is a great new addition to boost the popularity, but as Harsha Bhogale rightly said, we were excited for this game only because of its novelty, and the over playing of pink ball tests will hamper its novelty. So we need to be careful of not over doing something.
Need one such match in every series
Pink ball day-night Test cricket format is a very nice concept. The number of spectators will definitely increase, but matches should be played against equals. Also, since India has now played this format, there should be at least one day-night Test match in every series, which we play in the future.
Cricket has been one of the most loved sports in India. The pink ball Test which was held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata surely was a great matter of experimentation with Indian cricket. The inclusion of the pink ball in the day-night test, was the source of attraction for cricket fans residing in every nook and corner of India. These kind of experiments are essential to develop and elevate the quality of the game being played and expands one’s knowledge about it. This punch will surely give Test cricket a twist and attract more people. Such kinds of experiments create a win-win situation wherein the game’s quality and knowledge is elevated,which inturn attracts more people and hence, the rise in the sport’s economy, leading to country’s progress. These experiments need to be carried out in order to give the game a mesmerising effect.