Former India captain Rahul Dravid believes that day-night Test matches will help get more crowds in stadiums but they are not the only solution to revive interest in the longest format of the game in India, according to a report by Economic Times.
The upcoming pink ball Test between India and Bangladesh is being counted on as a tool to attract crowds to the stadium but according to Dravid, a lot more needs to be done to truly change the face of Test cricket in the country.
“It is not the only solution to rejuvenate Test cricket, but it is one of the things we need to do. If only we are able to control dew, the pink ball Test can become an annual feature in India,” Dravid is quoted as saying in a forum. “You make it tough for the bowlers when the ball gets wet and takes the swing away... it (pink ball) is a novelty that will attract people to the stadium and must be tried.”
Dravid, who heads the National Cricket Academy, reckons the stadiums in India need to ensure they at least provide basic facilities to fans.
“Basic things like toilets, seating, car parking need to be looked into, these are things that will draw,” he said.
The 46-year-old also made a pertinent point when he said that widespread television coverage and the advent of streaming services have played a role in keeping fans away from the stadiums.
“When we say there were 1,00,000 people at the Eden Gardens in 2001, we are missing the point. At that time, there was no HD television that could guarantee you a better experience at home, there was no cricket on mobile, and if you wanted to catch the action, you had to make it to the ground,” he said.
“Things are different now and it is important we accept the ground reality. Yes, you can argue that the Ashes are always full and that Test cricket is in good health in England and Australia, but that’s because they have a Test cricket calendar and we don’t.
“People can plan for a Boxing Day Test in December and a Lord’s Test in July a year ahead. We need this to happen in Indian cricket. Also, we need better facilities at stadiums, for fan engagement is extremely necessary to bring crowds back to the game.”
After winning the first Test of the two-match series, India face Bangladesh in the second Test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, starting on November 22. It will be the first day-night Test in India and will see both the teams involved in a pink ball encounter for the first time.