BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and the Cricket Association of Bengal pulled out all the stops for India’s ongoing historic first day-night Test match at the Eden Gardens.
In the lead-up to the Test, the entire city of Kolkata seemed to be bathed in a pink light. Celebrities and sporting stars from all over the country were flown in for the occasion. Ticket prices were reduced in a bid to get more people to come to the stadium for the game.
And the people have turned up to watch. Arguably because it is a historic game. But still, the first two days have witnessed packed crowds and that is something that even the players enjoyed.
“It’s motivating to see a packed crowd supporting us. I think Test cricket is still alive and this was one of the occasions which will boost Test cricket,” Pujara said in press conference after the close of play on Day 2.
Pujara added: “As players, we enjoy this atmosphere. When we are fielding, when we are batting we are always concentrating on the next ball. However, the bowlers need a lot of support and when we are fielding and the moment the crowd starts supporting us, the bowlers are always charged up. Although the game might not go on till Day 4, it’s a good experience. I am sure the crowd is also enjoying this momentous occasion.”
The marketing effort for the day-night match was markedly different from what we have seen for Test cricket around the country and it made one wonder if regular Tests can be saved with similar efforts. The marketing created a buzz and that is something almost every other Test-playing nation tries to do before a game.
And it makes one wonder at what cost was the hype created?
According to a report in The Indian Express, the expense incurred for the day-night Test was Rs 1 crore more than for a red-ball game.
“This much was required because gradually people were losing interest in Test cricket,” said CAB secretary Avishek Dalmiya. “So in order to maintain the equilibrium between Test cricket and limited-overs cricket, this move was required. It is like the transition from orthodox Test cricket to modern-day Test cricket.”
As per the norm, CAB received Rs 2.5 crore from the BCCI as match subsidy but the association also argued that the cost for holding a day-night Test is more than that of a regular game as the lights need to be switched on for a longer period.