India's pink ball blues

The future for day-night Test in India looks bleak as cricketers feel there is a long way to go for the pink ball to feature on a regular basis.

In the ongoing Duleep Trophy, many players have expressed unhappiness over the ball’s condition after 50-60 overs have been bowled.   -  B Jothi Ramalingam

Pink ball cricket is still in its infancy in India and only catching up around the world. But in the current scenario, the future for day-night Test in India looks bleak as cricketers feel there is a long way to go for the pink ball to feature on a regular basis.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had turned down an offer from its Australian counterpart to play a day-night Test when India tours Australia later this year, citing lack of preparation and enough exposure to pink ball cricket. However, more than the acquaintance factor, there is a lot that is left unsaid.

Out-of-favour India opener Abhinav Mukund felt there is a lot of work to be done before a day-night Test becomes a part of the Indian calendar. “I am not too sure if the ball is adaptable to the Indian conditions. There is absolutely no assistance to the bowlers once the ball gets old. Also, the spinners find it difficult as they have to solely rely on line and length with minimal assistance from the ball. The board should work something out if they want this to be a regular feature,” Mukund said.

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Divakar Vasu, coach of India Red, said an internal report has been submitted by the teams to BCCI with a lot of suggestions. “Kookaburra has to work on the ball. There is no natural shine on the ball as there is an artificial coating on the ball. The ball only helps the spinners in the first 30 overs or so and the old ball ceases to reverse too for the quicker bowlers. Once the ball becomes softer, the bounce is also lost. So, there is a lot to be worked on before pink ball can make its debut internationally or even in the Ranji Trophy in India,” he explained.

Vidarbha skipper Faiz Fazal said the pink ball tilts the game by giving a slight advantage to the batsmen. “In the later part of the game, the quicks find it hard and so do the spinners. Having said this, as a batsman, if you are able to see off the new ball and then don’t commit any mistake, you have the upper hand.”

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“The pink ball is also one of the reasons why spinners are used upfront. You have a fast bowler from one end and a spinner from another in the first hour of play. That’s when the bowlers can extract maximum help from the pink ball,” he added.

In the ongoing Duleep Trophy, many players have expressed unhappiness over the ball’s condition after 50-60 overs have been bowled. There have been numerous instances when the ball had to be changed as it becomes extremely soft or goes out of shape. Unlike the SG ball where a spinner can get the ball to grip the surface and get some drift, bowling with a pink ball gives minimum or negligible drift putting the bowlers in a spot.