Lal back in com Box after battle with cancer

Published: 19th June 2016 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2016 05:32 AM   |  A+A-

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 held experimentally under lights and beamed live on Star Sports before India take a call on hosting day-night Tests marked 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. He was there at the toss before resuming usual duty.

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.

lal.jpgThe match between Kolkata clubs Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore 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 had obtained physician’s clearance to sit with the mic. “His wife Reena isn’t keeping well. Even then, Arun has said he is happy to return to the com box,” the official 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 has not happened. 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. Having said that, there is no new of any BCCI official or member coming over to Kolkata for this match. And as far as Manohar is concerned, I’ve no news of his arrival,” said a CAB official on Friday.

The BCCI has decided to host Duleep Trophy under lights this season. A first-class tournament with pink balls is viewed as the first step towards staging day-night Test matches. In the experiment conducted in phases, Eden Gardens is the starting point.

Ganguly has said more than this match, the Duleep Trophy will be the stage to test how things work. “But day-night Tests are the way ahead. For that, we had to start somewhere and hopefully, this match will give us an idea of what requires to be done or modified,” he was quoted as saying by an agency report.

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