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BCCI embraces new markets for Test cricket in India

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has named six cities as new Test match venues as part of a 2016-17 schedule that marks a major commitment to the longest form of the sport.

The BCCI today (Thursday) said Rajkot, Vizag, Pune, Dharamsala, Ranchi and Indore will host Test matches for the first time in a season where India will play 13 Test matches. This equals the highest number of Test matches staged in any season in India, with 13 games having also been played in 1979-80.

The schedule includes three Tests against New Zealand, five against England, four versus Australia and a solitary Test against Bangladesh that will mean India becomes the final full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to welcome the latter nation for a Test match since it was elevated to the top table of the game in 2000.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur said: “I welcome the new Test venues hosting this prestigious format of cricket and their arrival will take Test match cricket to every corner of the country.”

The BCCI has also said that its domestic season will see the Duleep Trophy knockout competition played under lights and with a pink ball for the first time in its history. The announcement comes with the Board having stated its keenness to embrace day-night Test cricket, an initiative that is currently being explored by a number of nations.

Thakur has previously said India will host a day-night Test during New Zealand’s tour of the country later this year, although this has yet to be confirmed. Australia and New Zealand made history last year when they faced off in the inaugural day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval from November 27 to December 1.