CHENNAI: Other than being the first day-night match on Indian soil using pink balls, the Cricket Association of Bengal’s super division final to be played at Eden Gardens from Saturday to Tuesday will stand out for two more reasons.
The local match to be held experimentally under lights and beamed live on Star Sports before India take a call on hosting day-night Tests will mark the return of Arun Lal to the commentary box after a battle with cancer. The former opener underwent radiation following surgery in February after being diagnosed with jaw cancer.
No invitation to BCCI officials to be present on the occasion is a curious sidelight, which suggests that more than this match they would follow the Duleep Trophy under lights as a yardstick before deciding on the future of such games in India at a higher level.
The match between Kolkata clubs Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore to be played with imported Kookaburra balls with a dark seam is a brainchild of Sourav Ganguly. The CAB president is apparently eager to portray Eden as a forerunner to host India’s first day-night Test.
While efforts to contact Ganguly didn’t bear fruit, another CAB official informed that Arun Lal has obtained physician’s clearance to sit with the mic. “His wife Reena isn’t keeping well. Even then, Arun has said he would be happy to return to the com box,” he said.
Considering Ganguly’s eagerness to showcase Eden’s ability to stage a match of this nature, it was expected that BCCI officials would be invited to see how things unfold. That is not happening. Plans to invite ICC president Shashank Manohar too have been shelved. “Normally, we send invites to BCCI members and officials for international matches. It hasn’t been done this time because it’s just a club match. Even then, if someone wants to come, he’s more than welcome. As far as Manohar is concerned, I’ve no news of his arrival,” said a CAB official on Friday.
India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and pacer Mohammad Shami, who both play for Mohun Bagan, lend star value to the match slated to start at 2pm.