The 34-year-old retired from Test cricket last year and has not featured in a one-day…
The scenes were reminiscent of a past, long gone by that would resurface in the mind’s eye from time to time only to lament the spectators’ apathy to domestic cricket and the longer format of the game.
Street vendors selling roasted corn, peanuts, hot syrupy tea outside the stadium, and a large crowd, in a hurry to buy these snacks and rush through the entry gate, with minor traffic jams adding to the sense of importance and anticipation for the action unfolding inside the stadium.
This past fortnight recreated these visuals at the Greater Noida’s asthetically-designed cricket stadium where the Indian board experimented with day-night cricket to test the possibility of introducing it in Test matches. From a purely spectator experience, judging by the few thousand people who came to the ground each day and showed remarkable patience even while the game was stopped for hours and hours due to rain and wet conditions, the experiment was a resounding success.
Even the players, used to playing domestic cricket on empty grounds where the only sounds disturbing the eerie silence would be of the ball hitting the bat or the shouts of “how’s that”, were pleasantly surprised at the turnout. The involvement of the crowd added to the spirit of competitiveness, and was acknowledged by most of the players who played the tournament.
The more ticklish problem, in a sense the real issue, for which this year’s Duleep Trophy was made into a testing ground, was to find out how well would the Kookaburra-made pink ball last the five days in natural as well as the floodlights?
Here the verdict is still uncertain. While it did not turn out to be demonic for the batsmen, as runs were scored in the tons, but uncomfortable questions were still raised.