India’s WTC standing argues for pink-ball Test on Australia tour, says Kevin Roberts
By Shruti - Dec 13, 2019 10:57 pm
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India’s last visit to Australia witnessed that they didn’t agree to play the day-night Test but India recently played their first-ever day-night Test and won it convincingly against Bangladesh in Kolkata. However, India are expected to play a day-night Test in Australia in their next tour there. Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts, has assured that India are not opposed to playing at any venue yet.

Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts

“I don’t see India being opposed to that (playing in Brisbane)… there is a lot to work through. But I don’t see India being opposed to any venue,” Roberts said. “Certainly what we heard speculated in the last India tour that they refused to play at the Gabba is simply not true, so we have productive discussions with them in terms of all the future tours we are playing, be it over in India or here. We really commend India in being a good global citizen in growing the game all around the world…don’t think (they) get enough credit for their generosity for the game around the world. They tour more days away from home than any other country in world cricket.”

As far as the pink-ball Test is concerned, Virat Kohli himself recently said that they were hesitant to play a day-night Test last time in Australia but things have changed now and due to that, Kevin Roberts sees hope there.

“I absolutely believe we should be playing one pink-ball Test in the Indian series next year,” Roberts said. “India to their credit are doing very well in this World Test Championship, and it’s highly likely that they will make the final in 2021 if you look at where the standards are now and what’s coming. I suspect that will make it easier to schedule a day-night Test next season if India have relative certainty of making the WTC final, then there is less reason not to play a day-night Test and more reason to play one.”

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“Also with Sourav Ganguly coming into the presidency of the BCCI, he’s been very proactive in scheduling the first day-night Test in India, and we saw that was a sell out in three days which is very different to what the previous day series have looked at in terms of ticket sales. There is an openness from India and an understanding that it is good for cricket. And their standing in the WTC hopefully helps things next season,” Roberts further added.

Virat Kohli

However, there are some issues regarding the allotment of the venues but Roberts expressed that no Test match is locked at any venue yet, be it the first Test in Brisbane, the Boxing Day Test at MCG or the New Year’s Test at SCG.

“No specific Test anywhere around the country is locked in into the future. There are commitments to have a Test at the MCG and the SCG, that’s the depth of the commitment,” Roberts expressed. “What we do know is that there is a rich history around Boxing Day, we love that and respect that and we would really like to see Boxing Day Test continue at the MCG. There’s an average opening day crowd of over 70,000 at the MCG, so that’s the only venue in Australia which can accommodate that crowd so that’s a key consideration.”

Roberts said that the tradition and players’want will play a huge role in this matter.

“The challenging thing we’ve got to work through is when there’s not as many Test matches as there are capital cities,” Roberts explained. “We look at the playing side of things, it’s a really important thing, especially for the first Test where the players have a very strong preference for the first Test of any major series to be played at the Gabba.”

“As you would appreciate as we travel around the country for different Test matches, there are very valid articles put up in each city, with the likes of Michael Vaughan and Shane Warne asking, how could Cricket Australia possibly schedule a first Test anywhere other than Brisbane, they would be crazy. And then understandably we come to Perth and to a very good stadium that the government has invested heavily in, and from a WA perspective it’s how could we not schedule a Test match here?,” Kevin Roberts concluded.