Bahutule: The pink ball looks to be the future

"I welcome the pink ball because it is different and offers new challenges. It is an experiment worth going ahead with," says the Bengal coach and former India player, Sairaj Bahutule.

Pink-ball cricket... the way forward?

As Eden Gardens hosted India’s first pink-ball match (CAB Super League final between Mohun Bagan and Bhawanipore) recently, Bengal coach Sairaj Bahutule strongly backed the experiment. The former India player was of the view that pink-ball cricket, which aimed to bring the crowd back to Test cricket, would last longer.

 

“The pink ball looks (to be) the future. I remember the excitement of playing the Ranji Trophy final in 1997 (against Delhi in Gwalior) with the white ball. This is different. I think it is going to stay,” Bahutule said.

“From what I saw at Eden Gardens, there was more bounce and swing with the pink ball. The seam (black) is prominent and that helps the bowlers. In fact, the shine lasts longer on the pink ball, and that can prove an advantage for the fast bowlers.

“There was lateral movement right up to the 60th over. This is not what you get with the other balls. The visibility factor is not an issue since the pink ball retains its lustre.”

Bahutule was optimistic that the pink ball would remain true for a longer duration. “It is important to have grass on the pitch, and obviously the outfield has to be lush green for the pink ball to keep its colour. I don’t think there is going to be a worry in this department since the pink ball that was used in Kolkata was hard, and that is what the fast bowlers would love. “The only concern for the fast bowlers could be the absence of reverse swing. Since the ball doesn’t get rough, it is tough for them to get it to reverse. It would be difficult for the spinners too unless they get good purchase from the pitch.”

According to Bahutule, the upcoming Duleep Trophy would help understand the behaviour of the pink ball better. “I welcome the pink ball because it is different and offers new challenges. It is an experiment worth going ahead with. I think we would get a fair idea (of the ball) from the Duleep Trophy where the quality of cricket would be better than what we saw at the Eden Gardens,” he said.