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Sourav Ganguly wants to see packed houses for Test cricket

Ganguly was pleased with the return of Umesh and Shami for the Australian series.

Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly stated that he wants to use the pink ball to draw more people to the stadiums to watch Test cricket. If it wasn’t for him, the BCCI had scrapped the Duleep Trophy from the domestic fixtures but Ganguly’s insistence got it back on the calendar. The former left-hander was keen on the tournament as the pink-ball is being used in it to get players used to the behavior of the ball.

Ganguly is currently serving as the president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). Since the second ODI is scheduled to take place at the Eden Gardens on Thursday, the CAB chief is busy preparing for the game. It has been raining a fair bit in Kolkata but the new drainage system has helped keep the pitch dry. In an interview with the Mid Day, Ganguly emphasized the need to play with the pink ball in order to attract more people to the grounds.

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Ganguly welcomes ruthless attitude, picks India as favorites

Ganguly welcomed the ruthless attitude displayed by Kohli’s men on their recent tour of Sri Lanka. Talking about the 9-0 clean sweep, Ganguly credited the team for their performance. “It has never happened before so it’s a very creditable performance. However weak Sri Lanka was, India had to go into matches and win them. I welcome this attitude of ruthlessness. They didn’t bother about the opponent’s strengths or weakness.”

However, the owner of 18,575 international runs said that he doesn’t expect India to whitewash Australia as they are a much better side. “India are definitely favorites, but it may not be a 5-0 result for them. I will be surprised if that happens.”

Talking about the preparations for the 2nd ODI scheduled to commence in Kolkata, Ganguly was delighted with the work despite incessant rains. “It’s still raining in Kolkata. We are ready and the outfield has been well covered, so it’s dry. Two days ago, curator Sujan Mukherji had to water the 22-yard strip despite the rain. That’s how well protected the pitch is. We have introduced a modern draining system in which the water goes down very quickly.”

Ganguly wants Bumrah to be picked for Tests

The man who led India to the finals of the 2003 World Cup was happy that the selectors brought back fast bowling duo of Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami for the series. He was of the opinion that it is high-time that India tried Jasprit Bumrah in the longer format of the game.

“It’s a good team and the selectors have done well to bring back Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav to face one of the best teams in international cricket. Jasprit Bumrah should be tried out in a Test match. He is bowling well. He can bowl with the new and old ball and is a very successful death overs bowler. India are playing their next Test series against Sri Lanka and that too in India so they can try him to have another option.”

The 45-year old stressed on retaining the significance of Duleep Trophy as a tournament and criticized the talks of chucking it away altogether. He sees it as a stepping stone to introduce pink-ball cricket in India, which according to Ganguly will bring more and more people to catch Test cricket live.

“As far as Duleep Trophy is concerned, my view is very clear: How can you kill a tournament? It has to be discussed either in the working committee or the special AGM. You can’t chuck away a tournament one fine morning. I do understand the packed calendar, but somehow we have found a window for this and we have to keep on trying to keep it significant. And it’s not about me being a fan of the pink ball. The idea is to bring back crowds to Test cricket and that’s the reason the Duleep Trophy is being played under lights and with the pink ball. The first pink ball Test between 2015 Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide was houseful. The recent Birmingham Test contested by England and West Indies drew big crowds too so as an administrator, I would like to see packed houses for Test cricket.”

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