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First introduced by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2003, followed by Pakistan in 2004, Australia in 2005 and the West Indies in 2006, India was among the last of the nations to commit to the T20 format. The same turned out to be the case with the Decision Review System, first introduced in 2011 and having undergone a series of corrections, reintroduced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2016. It was once again the BCCI that ended up being the last in saying yes to the technology.
That happens to be the case with Day & Night Tests too, a concept first experimented with at the highest level in 2015 on New Zealand’s tour of Australia. Nine Test matches have been played under lights so far and two more scheduled – both not involving India – and the BCCI is yet again reluctant to experiment with something new. While BCCI’s reasons may not cut ice with the global fraternity altogether, the Indian cricket board is clear in its stand – in the context of the Day & Night Test proposed by Cricket Australia (CA) in Adelaide later this year – that James Sutherland, the chief executive at CA, “is not telling the truth”.
On January 11 this year, Sutherland wrote an email to the BCCI – accessed by TOI – proposing the Day & Night Test in Adelaide when India tour Down Under later in 2018.
The BCCI CEO Rahul Johri replied to Sutherland on the same day categorically stating that India would not participate in any form of Test cricket except “red-ball day matches”.
The exchange of emails between CA and the BCCI is clear and Sutherland was certainly in the know of BCCI’s view on the matter four months ago. “It’s a decision that’s been arrived at keeping Team India’s prerogatives in mind,” say sources. Further, when CA executives were in India last month for the ICC board meetings in Kolkata, the BCCI CEO once again apprised Sutherland of India’s stand on the Day & Night Test concept.
In the last one month, CA has time and again raised the subject of their proposal to BCCI to schedule a D/N Test in Adelaide despite being categorically conveyed about India’s reluctance in writing. “He’s (Sutherland) clearly not speaking out what’s been exchanged between the two cricket boards through official emails,” say BCCI sources.
The Indian cricket board says it does understand CA’s need to pursue with the Test under lights, for the simple reason that it stands to attract more crowds. “It’s primarily a decision arrived at based on potential revenues. They’re free to think of ways that add to their overall finances but that doesn’t mean they make BCCI or India look like we’ve been sitting on the decision. Sutherland very well knows what we have in mind because he’s been told about it in writing,” say BCCI sources.
While BCCI may take its time warming up to the concept unlike other nations, there’s no ambiguity whatsoever on where it stands today.