“It is about enjoying a day out. You are coming in for entertainment. You have to market this game well and crowds will come in plenty. Everything needs a bit of innovation, even cricket,” Ganguly said in a panel discussion where he was flanked by former India batsman V.V.S. Laxman and former Australia all-rounder Dean Jones.
Ganguly once again said that pink-ball cricket is the way forward for Test matches which are losing out on huge crowds. But he also pointed to the fact that quality cricket will bring in fans and spectators anywhere around the world.
“The Test series between Sri Lanka and England witnessed great crowds. In the Lords’ game the stadium was packed to capacity. I don’t believe when Virat Kohli stands to face Jimmy (James) Anderson people won’t come in,” Ganguly said.
The present Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president has also organised a pink-ball Super League final which will be played between Kolkata clubs Bhowanipore and Mohun Bagan from June 18-21 at the Eden Gardens.
“I have been hearing the test match in Australia finished in three days. How many times has a red ball Test finished in three days in Australia? It is because of the quality of the side as well. This is to bring people back into the ground, as you say innovations. We take time to get used to changes and after six months and a few games we will see, it is the way forward,” he said.
Ganguly had also played pink ball cricket when he was captaining MCC in Dubai and he said he had no problems sighting the ball while batting.
“It was a lot brighter because of its colour. Sometimes when you are in England it is very hard to pick the dark duke ball. But with the pink ball there were no problems,” said the 43-year-old who has scored 11,363 runs in One-Day Internationals.
The CAB chief also had to bring in pink Kookaburra balls for the four-day Super League game and he said the ball manufacturers have repeatedly warned him to have more grass on the wicket and the practice pitches beside it.
“Fifteen days back when I had with Kookaburra, they told me to get the conditions right. They told me to have more grass on the wicket and the pitches which are close to it. Otherwise it might get scuffed up easily,” he remarked.
Ganguly opined that all the negativity around the pink ball will go away once the players get used to it.
“You have to let them play with the ball. Once you know the deficiencies, you can improve the ball with the technology that is now a days available. Give to someone like Ashwin. If he gets a six-for with it, he will say it is the best thing they have,” he added.