Kolkata: The cricket-crazy fans in Kolkata came, they watched and they applauded. But Indias maiden pink ball Test wouldnt have been possible had it not been for new BCCI President Sourav Ganguly. It was his vision and he left no stone unturned to ensure that India not only finally played a Day-Night Test, but also organised it in a manner that was nothing short of a spectacle.
Speaking to IANS, during the final session on the second day of the Test between India and Bangladesh, Ganguly said it almost felt like it was a World Cup final being played at the historic ground.
“Just take a look around (fans with their camera lights on to click pictures). Do you see this? Have you seen this in Test cricket? When was the last time you had a capacity crowd watching a Test match? Feels like it is a World Cup final,” he smiled.
The satisfaction to see his efforts bear fruit was clearly visible but what the pink ball Test also did was took him back to the famous 2001 Test between India and Australia that changed the graph of Ganguly, the captain.
“Oh! It is an absolutely amazing feeling. Feels great. Look for yourself. It brings back memories of the 2001 Test match if you ask me. This is what Test cricket should be, packed stadiums,” he said.
Does it bring joy that his effort resulted in such a beautiful outcome that even someone like a Rahul Dravid said he would have loved to be a part of Day-Night Tests? Ganguly’s joy knew no bounds.
“It is very kind of him. Feels very good when your teammates compliment you. Coming from him, it is special. I am very happy. Yes, it is a very satisfying feeling,” he said.
Does he also miss being a part of the pink ball era? “You cannot say that as we have all had our time. When we were playing, the T20 had just come in and look at how it has spread and now this. So you cannot think that way,” he smiled.
Asked if things will only get bigger and better now that the first pink ball Test has been played, Ganguly decided to play the waiting game, but was quick to add that the atmosphere would only get better if oppositions like England, South Africa and Australia were to play Day-Night Tests in India.
“Too early to talk of the future. We will all sit down and discuss the way ahead after this one. But just imagine the frenzy if you have teams like England, South Africa and Australia playing pink ball Tests against India. Think what the crowd will get to witness,” he pointed.
The Test also saw Virat Kohli become the first Indian to score a hundred in pink ball Test and for Ganguly, the India skipper is one of the best he has seen. Coming from the man who played with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and V.V.S. Laxman, this is no mean assessment.
“Oh he is just brilliant. What a knock. I have played alongside some of the best and he definitely belongs in that category. Just a pleasure to watch the consistency with which he scores runs. He is a run-machine,” he said.
While India decimated Bangladesh, the next challenge in Test cricket will be slightly tougher against New Zealand as India will be travelling to Kiwiland. But Ganguly is confident that this team can deliver.
“I will not compare this bowling attack with the ones in the past, but this is a very good attack. New Zealand are a good team. At home, in their own conditions, it will be challenging but I am hopeful Virat and the boys will do well there as well,” he said.
Do we see a Day-Night Test on the New Zealand tour now that India have experience of playing under lights against the pink ball? Ganguly said it was still early days. “Nothing is decided yet. We still have time for the New Zealand series. Let’s see,” he said.
Another important area that he needs to take a call on is the future of M.S. Dhoni. While the selectors have pointed that they are looking at the road ahead, the BCCI President still wants to have a word with the former India skipper before taking a call on the matter.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to speak to Dhoni yet. Let’s see,” he signed off.