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Pink-ball Test will mark a new beginning: Sourav Ganguly, BCCI president

As Eden Gardens gears up to host India's first pink-ball Test, former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly asserted that this is one of the major opportunities we have to bring crowds back to the stadium. Yes, we also need a def...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 21, 2019, 11.34 PM IST
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AFP
Ganguly---AFP
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly walks at the ground at Eden Gardens cricket stadium in Kolkata on November 21, 2019, ahead of the second Test cricket match between India and Bangladesh.
Shuttling between Mumbai and Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly has lost a few kilos in the last two weeks. However, the smile hasn’t left his lips and the confidence to be able to fill up Eden Gardens stays on as he oversees the finishing touches on the eve of the pink-ball Test. In between the selection meetings and the briefing to his colleagues, the BCCI president found time to talk to Boria Majumdar about the spectacle that starts today. Excerpts:

Finally, the pink-ball Test is happening and the city also looks stunning in pink?
It is a festival, isn’t it? I have to thank the fans and everyone around for warming up to the idea. Virat (Kohli) was splendid to start with. The Bangladesh Board was also convinced that we are onto something historic. There won’t be a seat empty at the Eden Gardens on Friday.

With Olympic athletes, cricket’s major stars, politicians and state heads coming to Eden Gardens, it seems like a carnival.
I don’t think there has been a Test match in recent memory that has seen as much crowd interest. The demand for tickets are as high as the India-Pakistan World T20 match in 2016 and I am absolutely delighted that Virat and his team will get to play in front of a packed house. I urge everyone to come in pink and be a part of the spectacle for all I want is that it should be a memorable occasion and each fan should have a lasting memory of it.

Is the day-night Test the solution for Test cricket according to you?

Certainly it is. I have no doubt in my mind that this is one of the major opportunities we have to bring crowds back to the stadium. Yes, we also need a definite calendar for Test cricket in India and we are working on it. But day-night cricket is a must. You can’t expect people to miss work and come and watch cricket. However, people will come and enjoy the action at the end of a work day. Eden will turn pink and the view will just be mind-blowing. That’s what it is all about: support the game you love in an enjoyable atmosphere while watching your stars play.

Your thoughts on the concerns expressed by some of your former colleagues like Rahul Dravid on dew?

We are doing everything we can to control the dew. We will use the spray and we will ensure we can keep a lid on things as much as possible. Also, we have constantly monitored things the last few days and there has been no dew till late evening. The game is to finish at 8pm so I really don’t think there is any major cause for worry on the dew count. And, these players have handled dew with the white ball. Games go on till 10pm with the white ball. There is no reason why they can’t manage till 8pm. It is absolutely essential to get the fans back to the stadium to support Test cricket and I will do everything I can to do so. I am bull-headed about this and have received tremendous support from all quarters.

What are you most looking forward to on day one?

I am looking forward to that time when the lights come on. A packed Eden under lights for Test cricket with the players playing with the pink ball and when everything around is pink, it will be some sight. It should be one of those ‘I was there’ moment for us all. And I am just hoping people will take back a memory of a lifetime.

Just give us a sense of who all will be at Eden Gardens for the pink-ball Test?

We will have all of India’s former captains with us, we will have the team that played Bangladesh for the first-ever Test in 2000 with us, the Bangladesh team is also coming and also India’s foremost Olympic athletes Abhinav Bindra, Mary Kom, Sania Mirza, PV Sindhu, Pullela Gopichand and Vishwanathan Anand are all there. We will leave no stone unturned. We also have our own Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj. You will have things going on all day for the spectators and all of it will be live on television as well. It is our tryst with the pink-ball Test and trust me when I say this — it will mark a new beginning in India’s Test cricket history.

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