Pink ball Tests should not be the only way five-day cricket is played, feels India captain Virat Kohli.
“This should not become the only way Test cricket is played. Then, you are losing out on that nervousness of the first session in the morning. You can bring excitement into Test cricket but you can’t purely make Test cricket based on just entertainment,” Kohli said on the eve of India’s much-hyped first Day-Night Test against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens beginning Friday.
“The entertainment of Test cricket lies in a batsman trying to survive a session, a bowler trying to set up a batsman out. If people don’t want to respond to that, that’s too bad. If I don’t like Test cricket, you can’t push me to like it.
“Those who enjoy battle between bat and ball and great session of Test cricket, in my opinion, those are the people that should come and watch Test cricket because they understand what’s going on.
“Yes, it’s great to create more buzz around Test cricket. You see first 3-4 days here are sold out which is amazing,” Kohli added.
Endorsing Rahul Dravid’s view that India must have a Test cricket calendar to win fans back, the 31-year-old said: “I think Rahul bhai mentioned this recently, if you have a Test calendar where the series and Tests are fixed, it will bring a lot more system and sync into people planning their calendars as well.
“It can’t be random saying you never know when a Test match is going to arrive. So if you have centres which are marked and you have a calender, people will have a better system as to how we can plan to get into those Tests. People are not going to leave work and come if they don’t know what’s going on. They can plan in advance like you plan anything in life,” said the Indian skipper.
“This can be a one-off thing. It should not in my opinion become a regular scenario,” he added.
Kohli-led India refused to play a Day-Night Test in Adelaide against Australia in 2018. But since Sourav Ganguly became the president of BCCI and pushed the issue, he said it took the skipper three seconds to agree to it.
Asked what changed the mindset, Kohli said: “We wanted to get a feel of pink ball cricket. It had to happen eventually. You can’t bring up those things before a big tour you are going to and suddenly in the schedule there is a pink ball Test when we haven’t even practiced with pink ball.
“We haven’t played any first class games with pink ball. The thing was to experience the pink ball Test in our own conditions first so you get a hang of how the ball behaves, what is the way to sight the ball and so on. Then eventually going on and playing pink ball Tests anywhere in the world. It can’t be a sudden thing.
“This one we have been talking about for a while as you saw a few guys practice even before the series started. You can’t just two days before you get on a plane say you are going to play pink ball Test in a week’s time. We didn’t think it was logical from that point of view. It needed a bit of preparation and once you are used to it, there is no problem in playing at all. You can plan in advance. Any change needs time to sink in and settle. We are open to doing anything.”
Sunil Gavaskar recently said pink ball and red ball Test statistics should be separate. On that, Kohli said he would want to understand first what the batting legend wanted to mean and then comment on it.
“I would like to understand more about why he (Gavaskar) said that. After that, I will be able to understand the main reason behind it. Unless I discuss it I can’t comment about it. I am sure if he is talking about something it is said with a lot of logic and lot of thought behind it,” said Kohli.