Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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India's Test captain Virat Kohli has come out in support of day-night Tests, even expressing his willingness to play with the pink ball. Test cricket, the long cherished traditional form of the game, will start a new chapter in its evolution when Australia and New Zealand play the inaugural day-night Test starting at the Adelaide Oval from November 27.
In recent weeks, there has been a raging debate among players, administrators and fans on the feasibility of day-night Tests, particularly the challenges of reading a bright coloured ball during late evenings, and the difficulties batsmen are likely to face due to an exaggerated swing. The main reason to play day-night Test cricket, according to the ICC, is to promote the longer form of the game and arrest the fast-declining crowds at grounds.
For Kohli, day-night Tests are both an experiment as well as a forward-looking step in the game. "It is a landmark Test," Kohli said, speaking on the eve of India's third Test against South Africa in Nagpur. "It is a big experiment. It is a big step towards changing something in Test cricket. I hope it works. I hope it can be another option as well.
"I'm glad two teams have actually agreed to play an official Test like that as an experiment. Credit to Australia and New Zealand, both, that they have decided to do this. Hopefully it will be better for the game. It will be a step which we all might remember few years down the line. Let's hope so."
Incidentally, Kohli is the first Indian voice, be it player or administrator, to give an opinion on day-night Tests. Kohli said he was open to playing such a match because he saw it as a positive step to promote Test cricket.
"As I said, it is a step towards something. If it is officially put into place it will be something different, it will be something exciting. As cricketers we all should be willing and accepting of the fact that we need to step forward and contribute to the game however possible. If this is a step towards improving the excitement and the popularity of Test cricket, then I think every team should be in for it."
Kohli has never featured in a match involving a pink ball, so he said his opinions on the challenges were based on what he had heard recently from other players.
"I have heard a few of the players giving feedback on playing with the pink ball. The only thing that they were concerned about is that during twilight it is hard to pick up the ball. During the day it was still fine. And at night it was okay as well, but when the floodlights are not sort of on and the sun is going down is when they found it very difficult."