Kolkata, India are set to play their maiden Day-Night Test at the historic Eden Gardens starting Friday and one man who played a crucial rule in convincing skipper Virat Kohli to agree to play a pink ball Test against Bangladesh is none other than current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly. While he spoke of the need to rejuvenate Test match cricket, another man who has been vocal about bringing radical changes to engage fans in the gentlemans game is Sachin Tendulkar.
Speaking to the eve of the pink ball Test, Tendulkar spoke about not just the idea of India playing their maiden Day-Night Test, but also about the need to bring in some changes across formats to help make it more competitive and engage the crowds.
“I think we are in a good position right now. I feel at this stage, without disrespecting anyone, there are very few teams which are actually competing well with us. Very few teams and I am not looking to disrespect anyone. So, these three guys if they continue to do exactly what they are doing, cricket is already moving forward,” he pointed.
While Ganguly has already ensured India play their first pink ball Test come Friday, Tendulkar believes that the pitches have a huge role to play if Test cricket is to excite the crowds.
“Test cricket I have always said that surfaces need to be good for the bowlers as well because in T20Is and ODIs batsmen have the advantage. With two new balls in ODIs, the reverse swing has gone out of the game because there aren’t very many bowlers who can reverse the ball. 310 is not a massive total and chaseable.
“So, with the other two formats in favour of batsmen, we need to look at a way to bring in bowlers more in Tests and give them a fair chance to compete with the bat because nobody would want to otherwise bowl in the future. Are the batters getting tested in Test cricket? I feel the answer is no. So, to get quality Test cricket, you need to have quality wickets. They don’t need to be seaming tracks only, they can be turners also,” he pointed.
For ODIs, he strongly believes that the way forward is to break a 50-over innings into two innings of 25 overs each.
“In ODIs, I feel to eliminate this dew factor thing which is a big disadvantage to the side bowling second, I had suggested the first team bats 25 overs and then the second team bats for 25 overs and then the first team bats again followed by the second team.
“But in all this, you only have 10 wickets and it isn’t two innings. You only break twice, but you have 10 wickets only. This basically gets both teams to bowl under lights and also get dry conditions upfront. This was things are neutralises,” he explained.
But the Little Master believes that T20 is one format which doesn’t need changes as such. “In T20Is I don’t think it is either stagnated or monotonous. People are enjoying what they see so I am quite okay with T20s,” he said.
When it comes to the Indian Premier League, Tendulkar feels that the idea of using power players can definitely be a solution in the future.
“Power players could be an option without any doubt. A power player can be engaged,” he pointed.
Even though he has time for the concept of power players, Tendulkar isn’t too keen on Indian joining the bandwagon in the T10 format as he feels that spoils the plan to revive Tests.
“I don’t know. On one side we are talking about reviving Test cricket and on the other side, ODIs have gone to T20Is and from that we have now gone to T10. I am not too sure if by doing all these things you are actually reviving Test cricket or not,” he said.
While Tendulkar has been a part of all revolutions in cricket till the advent of the T20s, he will never have the experience of playing a pink ball Test. But there is no such regrets for the master.
“No, I don’t think that way. Whenever I played and whatever time I enjoyed, it was absolutely fine. So, you can’t be thinking that I wish I was there. That is not how things are meant to be,” he signed off.