Everything You Need to Know About India's Pink Ball Cricket

Image source-indianexpress.com

On the 21st of November, the entire city of Kolkata, from the Eden Gardens to Howrah Bridge every monument had turned pink. Come 22nd November the city of joy was hosting the first-ever day-night test match in the history of Indian cricket at the Eden Gardens. For the first time in many years, there was such a rush for tickets to an India v/s Bangladesh Test Match.
The last major test cricketing nation to join the group, the second test between Bangladesh and India will be partly played under the floodlights and with a pink ball rather than a traditional red ball although the format was introduced in 2015, India was reluctant to join it until former captain Sourav Ganguly became the new BCCI Chairman.

History of test cricket 
Test cricket is the oldest and longest format among ODI and T20. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the 19th century, the first international matches were being held. The first test match was played between Australia and England in 1877 and since then it has expanded to 12 teams. The last entrant being Afghanistan and Ireland who were inducted in 2018. Test cricket is the form of the sport of cricket with the longest match duration and is considered the game's highest standard. 
Usually, a Test match lasts for 5 days where two teams play a four innings match. The rivalry between England and Australia gave birth to the ashes in 1882 and has remained Test cricket most fierce rivalry. Test cricket continued to expand to 20th century with the addition of West Indies, India and New Zealand and then to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the post-war era

The Dinosaur Format 
Despite being the oldest format in the world the existence of test cricket has come under scrutiny. Since the introduction of ODIs in the 1960s and the first world cup being held in 1975, cricket had lost a part of itself, then the introduction of t20 at the beginning of the 21st century and the emergence of IPL put a nail in the coffin for test cricket. The introduction of the shorter format of the game shifted the audience from test cricket to the shorter format with t20 being the most popular one. Most of the stadiums had a deserted look during a test match failing to draw a decent crowd. This lead to many nations not playing test cricket due to financial reasons and test cricket came close to becoming the dinosaur format of the game.

Innovation for future
  ICC the governing body of world cricket after repeated trial and error put forward two new innovations to save test cricket
• Day-night test (also known as pink ball test)
• World test championship 
During the late 2000s, discussions regarding the possibility of playing day/night Test matches occurred with West Indies being the first nation to organize a pink ball test. The pink colour of the ball was chosen after many trials as it was the most suitable colour to be seen under the floodlights.
 In 2012 the ICC granted permission to its member countries to host a day-night test match with the first match being played between Australia and New Zealand in 2015 in the Adelaide Oval, Australia.
Another new innovation that was added was the world test championship in which each team played a total of six test series (3 home and 3 away games) over a span of two years and at the end of the 2 years the top two teams with most numbers of points play each other to win the title of world test championship 

The Mecca of  Cricket
Eden Gardens is unofficially called the 'home of cricket' in India because it is this iconic stadium that has witnessed many firsts in the history of Indian cricket. From hosting the first World Cup final outside Lords (1987) to VVS Laxman's 281 against Australia in 2001 or Rohit Sharma's 264 off 173 against Sri Lanka, This stadium has seen it all. Not many people know that Brazilian legend Pele also came to the ground to play a friendly football match. And once again, it is gearing up for another historic occasion as India will be playing their first Test under floodlights here. The venue will also be hosting its 42nd Test match, which is the most hosted at an Indian venue.

India’s First Pink Ball Test 
On 22nd November more than fifty thousand spectators gathered in the stadium to witness the first pink ball test. Dignitaries such as the  Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed and Chief Minister of Bengal Mamta Banerjee attended the event of the first day. Other famous sports personalities to witness the event were PV Sindhu, Mary Kom, Sachin Tendulkar, Viswanathan Anand, chess icon Magnus Carlson and many more. Legends of the game along with the female athletes were felicitated for their contribution towards Indian sports. Although the match lasted for 3 days, each day was a complete sold out with the Indian team winning by an innings and 46 runs. 
Many records were set during the match with Virat Kohli being the first Indian to score a pink ball century and Ishant Sharma being the first Indian to take a 5 wicket haul. With this win, India has cemented its position at the top of the test championship with 360 points.
The first pink ball test was a historic day for this cricket-loving nation. Scenes like this were comparable to Sachin Tendulkar farewell test in Mumbai. Although the event was successful many feel it is not the only alternative to bring crowds or to save cricket. Change is a necessity in today's modern world, what is more, important is that shifts are also essential for survival. It cannot be denied that waning public interest in Test cricket has necessitated experimentation among cricket’s administrators. Pink-ball cricket must be welcomed as one such experiment.

- Written by Ayan Lahiri

- Edited by Maitreyi Mehndiratta

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Everything You Need to Know About India's Pink Ball Cricket Everything You Need to Know About India's Pink Ball Cricket Reviewed by EMN on November 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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