Pink-ball Test: Sight screen background a worry for Wriddhiman Saha

Ahead of the Pink-ball Test, India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha feels sighting the ball will depend a lot on the background, mainly for him and the slip cordon.

Virat Kohli (from left), Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammad Shami, Wriddhiman Saha during a practice session in Kolkata on Wednesday.   -  AFP

India wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha comes with pink ball experience. He was part of the CAB Super League club fixture at the Eden Gardens, along with Mohammed Shami, three years ago.

Ahead of India’s maiden day-night Test with the pink ball against Bangladesh, the only spot of bother for the superman stumper is the sight screen background.

“When we played the club match here, it was Kookaburra and this is the SG ball. It will be challenging in the twilight time. It is slightly difficult to pick the ball at that time but we have to adjust. This is a ball that will stay in good condition for a long time.

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“White ball has a black background, we have to see what background we get here. That could be a little different. The ball can be a little old during twilight. If the background is not clear, it could be difficult for the ‘keeper and the slip fielders,” Saha told reporters on Wednesday.

Since it is a Test match, there will be more deliveries that will carry to the ‘keeper. “The batsmen will leave a lot of balls and it will wobble. We can’t help but adjust.”

Pink ball experts have been harping on the lack of reverse swing but Saha believes the talented Indian pacers will be at it. “Look at Shami, he has been doing well in all conditions. Red or pink, he will remain a threat. He can still reverse the ball and he can be deadly on any wicket. All our pacers have that talent,” he added.

Sourav Ganguly inspects the Eden Gardens wicket in Kolkata on Wednesday.   -  AFP


Body clock

The timing for the pink ball Test is 1 pm to 8 pm, which could be challenging for the players as they are early risers during a Test series. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had said he won’t be able to hit the sack at 9 pm anymore.

Saha doesn’t see it as a problem. “The timing of lunch and tea will change, and I don’t think it will affect our preparation. There are people in our team who have dinner at 6:30 pm or 7:30 om. The players who play T20 and one-dayers in evenings have the experience of playing at this hour. They can adjust the body clock accordingly.”

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The Indian team had a slip catching practice against a white background around 5 pm.

The sight screen is likely to remain white, as seen in other pink ball Tests, but then, it could be tricky for the first-timers.

Full house on Day 1

We roamed around the ticket counters in and around maidan to check on the availability. It’s all sold out till day four. “There could be some tickets for Day 4 later but we don’t have the stock as of now. People were mostly asking till Day 3 as the match may not last that long,” said a vendor at one of the counters.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly took a walk around the wicket in the afternoon. “Just see the excitement. Four days sold out. When was the last time you saw a Test match being a sell out? Even the daily tickets are all gone. Everything is gone,” he said.

Starry vibes

Renowned vocalist from Bangladesh, Runa Laila, will perform along with Indian music director Jeet Ganguly on day one.

“The army will come down from the plane to hand over the balls to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Both the captains will be there and then, there will be the bell ringing ritual.

“There will be a talk session with Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. At tea, there will be a cart going around with the former captains followed by a felicitation ceremony in the end,” Ganguly added.

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