India vs Bangladesh: Virat Kohli curious about how dew will affect old pink ball

India captain Kohli recommended alternate practice sessions, with red and pink ball, in Indore to be ready for the day-night Test next week.

India captain Virat Kohli admitted that he is yet to decode the behaviour of the old pink ball.   -  R. V. MOORTHY

The Indian cricketers are experiencing a colour pop of sorts at the moment alternating between red and pink ball in training sessions. The two-match Test series against Bangladesh, that starts in Indore on Thursday, will be challenging for the switch.

The red cherry will do the talking in the first Test, before the floodlights at Eden Gardens take over from November 22.

Knowing the challenges ahead, India captain Virat Kohli recommended alternate training. “I had not played with the pink ball earlier. I was given an opportunity to try it and I wanted to. Everyone else did it as well. You need extra concentration on the pink ball suddenly after playing the red ball at the nets.

“It works on the reflexes a bit. It can be difficult to pick the pink ball after playing the red ball. So to get a match scenario and to get into the zone, was the reason we alternated between red and pink,” he said.

But Kohli admitted that he is yet to decode the behaviour of the old pink ball. “I felt it swings a lot more than the red ball. There is extra lacquer on the ball and it doesn’t go away too fast. The seam holds upright quite a bit. If the pitch has enough help for the bowlers, then the fast bowlers will do well in the course of the Test match. I don’t know how the old ball behaves with the dew and the lacquer going off.”

Read: Pink ball can last 80 overs, says Dukes owner Dilip Jajodia

Three pacers

Looking at the pitch, with a tinge of grass, Kohli is likely to play three pacers — Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma, who was rested in the Ranchi Test against South Africa.

“It is also because of the way Umesh has bowled [recently]. Shami obviously has been brilliant. Ishant is probably been our most consistent bowler in the last two years and a big reason for our success in Test cricket. His ability is to just keep bowling in the same area and the others come and pick up wickets. But also he has picked up four to five wickets on many occasions when he has gone through a great spell. So I think his experience will always be handy for the team.

“And the communication is very clear. We’ve played cricket together since Under-17, so he knows when I go and say something to him it’s purely based on what the team requires. There’s a lot of trust between us. Ishant’s strengths are different — when the ball’s seaming and swinging, he’s right among the top two contenders. I think that trust, that camaraderie, that belief in themselves is pushing this team forward. They are the ones in that mindset to get 20 wickets,” said Kohli.

Read: In pictures: Kohli, Bhuvi practise with the pink ball in Indore

Getting back on top

The Indian pace bowling pack is right on top of Test statistics and numbers, and Kohli feels the bowlers deserve it. “As a captain when we started off, that was the conversation, that was the one thing in my mind that I really wanted to see happen. Batting was never an issue, spin was never an issue. After Zak [Zaheer Khan] and all the stalwarts went away, we were thinking how can we get back to the top, have the ability and the firepower to pick 20 wickets. Seeing the way they've bowled, it's the belief that stands out; any kind of pitch, any opposition, they believe that they can get more out of the pitch than the opposition.  And the best thing is they're still not done yet.”

If the Indian pacers wreak havoc, Bangladesh also has left-arm cutter specialist Mustafizur Rahman in its arsenal. Kohli is aware of the threat. “Bangladesh is used to playing in similar conditions and they will know their game plan and know what to do. We will not take anything lightly or any player lightly from Bangladesh. They can be a skillful team when they are playing well.

“Mustafizur is a very good bowler. We’ve played against him quite a bit. But red ball… I think any left-arm seamer is a very different kind of bowler that we’re used to playing a lot. It just requires extra focus because you don’t play left-arm seamers that regularly when you don’t have them in your team. So it’s a challenge, but we must look forward to those challenges,” he reasoned.