A day-night Test in Australia during India’s tour Down Under next winter (southern summer), a pink-ball home Test against England early next year, contracts for first-class cricketers from the next season onwards and confirmation of the All-Star game to inaugurate the renovated Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, were some of the decisions taken at the BCCI Apex Council meeting in New Delhi on Sunday.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirmed to the reporters in Delhi that India will play Day-Night Tests against Australia and England. “Yes, India will play a day-night Test in Australia. Also, the second Test between India and England at Motera will be a day-night affair,” an Apex Council member told The Indian Express. India will play a four-Test series in Australia in December-January, while England will come here for a five-Test series in January-February 2021. A home day-night Test is going to be an annual fixture.
The decision was taken after India’s first-ever day-night Test, against Bangladesh, at Eden Gardens in November last year became a super hit. Ganguly has always maintained that this is the way forward, given the dwindling stadium attendances in long-form cricket.
During India’s last tour of Australia, in 2018-19, the BCCI, however, had refused to play a day-night Test, but Ganguly, after assuming the BCCI top office, had a meeting with captain Virat Kohli, which paved the way for India playing day-night Tests.
“I don’t know what’s the reason they didn’t want to play (Adelaide day-night Test). I met Virat, met him for an hour and the first question was that we need to have day-night Test cricket. The answer in three seconds was, ‘yes let’s go ahead and do it’. So I really don’t know what’s happened in the past,” Ganguly had said.
Kohli, too, had spoken about his team’s readiness to play day-night Tests in Australia. “We are ready and up for the challenge – whether it’s Gabba or Perth… it doesn’t matter to us. It’s become an exciting feature of any Test series and we are open to playing day-night Tests.”
The proposal to play day-night Tests in Australia was formally put forward by Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings, when he and his delegation met the BCCI top-brass last month. The Indian board agreed to play a day-night Test, although it is yet to be confirmed whether Adelaide will host the match or Brisbane.
No Pakistan player for All-Star game
As reported by this paper, an exhibition All-Star game between Asia XI and World XI game will be played in March to inaugurate the new Sardar Patel stadium, built at a cost of Rs 700 crore after razing down the old structure at Motera, Ahmedabad. But no Pakistan player will be part of it, this paper has learnt. Given the cross-border tension and a freeze in India-Pakistan bilateral cricket ties, Pakistani players will be kept out of the event.
Contract for first-class cricketers
The Apex Council decided to hand out contracts to first-class cricketers from the next season onwards. This was high on the BCCI agenda since the elected body took charge in last October. It is learnt that first-class cricketers will be brought under contract system, like England and Australia, through respective state associations. At present, first-class cricketers are paid Rs 35,000 per day for a multi-day fixture. The Apex Council also decided to release funds to the state associations.
Office-bearers to decide ethics officer’s extension
Meanwhile, the Apex Council empowered the BCCI office-bearers to take a call on the cricket board’s ombudsman-cum-ethics officer Justice (Retd) DK Jain’s extension. Justice Jain was appointed in February last year on a one-year term. PTI has reported quoting Justice Jain that the conflict of interest complaint against Kapil Dev been rendered “infructuous”.
Siva in contention
Former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan is in contention to become a national selector, an insider informed. “He is one of the applicants. Candidates are yet to be shortlisted, but the BCCI will complete the process of appointing the new selectors this month,” he said. The Apex Council also decided that the BCCI will make an ad-hoc payment of Rs 2 crore to the Indian Cricketers’ Association.
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