The BCCI is planning to hold the first ever day-night Test match for Team India, against West Indies in October of 2018. BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary has already had telephone conversations and emails with Team India coach Ravi Shastri.
However this move has not gone down well with Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), as CoA chief Vinod Rai termed this move as BCCI’s “cavalier way of taking policy decisions.”
Vinod Rai sent an email to BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, a copy of which is with the Indian Express, and asked why such a decision was taken without consulting him, CoA member Diana Edulji, the two office-bearers — acting President C K Khanna and treasurer Anirudha Chaudhary — or the players. He also asked the secretary to forward the concerns to Ravi Shastri as well, saying “I don’t have Ravi’s email id. Please forward to him also.”
“Even if it be cricket of which all of you certainly have greater knowledge than me (I am excluding Diana who has greater knowledge than all of you!), I represent the viewing population. They are your greatest stakeholder. Don’t you think you need to factor them in?” Rai wrote.
Amitabh Choudhary had consulted BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and General Manager (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim besides Shastri and proposed that a day-night Test must be organized to stem the drop in interest of the five day game.
Rai wrote, “The issue is placed on hold. It does not go out of cricket centre_till: 1. We work out a whole process with venue thrown in _ exact timing incl. security arrangement over five days in the same venue and the cost of the same to BCCI/State Assn. We then consult the guest team. We need to factor in their viewpoints. 3. Ravi may have been consulted but I would like to consult the players whose body clock over five consecutive days will have to get accustomed to a new timing. 4. Also factor in the administrative set up who will be doing the regimen for five days-late nights and all.”
Choudhary had sought suggestions from Shastri after the numbers from the last Test series at home showed alarmingly poor attendance, even at the venue like Eden Gardens.
“This was not the first challenge being faced by cricket and we had agreed that the game at international level had been facing continued challenges as it evolved, with every challenge being met successfully through innovations just as we may need to deal with the current one. This led our discussion to the natural option of day-night test matches,” Choudhary wrote.
Choudhary had sought views on the venue for the day-night Test where the dew factors in Indian conditions could be taken care of.
“As should only be natural, a consensus needs to be built around this view and I would be grateful to you if you could confirm the same so that I could take it further with the national selectors and other stake holders,” Choudhary wrote.
In his reply, Shastri wrote, “I firmly believe for Test cricket to survive in India the venues must be chosen smartly. Above all, Tier two cities must be used for tier two teams without compromise.”
He added: “As far as day night cricket goes it can be tried out as an experiment with a game starting at 12 and where the last session is played under lights. It will be interesting to see how much part dew will play. Again against a team like the West Indies it has to be played in a tier 2 city without a doubt. To get in the crowds it doesn’t matter if it’s a day game or daynight game. What (is) important is 2 tier city.”