India pacer Mohammed Shami cleared all the concerns suggesting the experimental pink ball may not help the bowlers to find reverse swing after he fought dehydration to pick up five wickets during the CAB Super League final in Kolkata on Sunday.
Appearing for Mohun Bagan, Shami (5/42) had to leave the field once after suffering from dehydration but came back later on day 2 of the historical final against Bhowanipore, in the first day/night experiment with a pink ball.
Shami sometimes seemed unplayable with his extra pace and effective bounce rattling the relatively inexperienced Bhowanipore batting line-up who managed to recover from 45 for 7 to 153 all out from 38.5 overs in reply to Mohun Bagan’s first-innings total of 299.
The pacer’s sharply cut in ball unsettled Geet Puri’s stumps under lights. He then fully utilized the ‘radium-like’ pink ball with a stunning high-five and gave his teammates enough reasons to celebrate.
“It’s very bright and glows like a radium. With red or white balls, there was some visibility problem as it took the colour of grass. Definitely, I will prefer this ball, this is much better. The biggest plus point is (the swing) under lights, what else a bowler wants,” an ecstatic Shami said.
Back in 2013 Shami made his Test debut against West Indies at this very same venue with a career-best nine-wicket haul. He still reminds that pleasant moment.
“There was a bit of moisture in the afternoon so it helped initially. But under lights, there was more movement undoubtedly. It’s challenging for both batsmen and bowlers.”
However, there were some concerns with the reverse swing as the bowlers on the first day started to complain that both sides of the ball remained shiny, but Shami completely disagreed after his five-wicket haul.
“The ball retains it colour and shine. If we can maintain the dryness, I’m sure it will reverse. It did, I noticed.”
The Sunday turnout was almost 5000 and people were even waving and shouting ‘pink ball, pink ball’ in front of the camera.
When he started the proceedings under severe heat and humid conditions, Shami bowled a no ball from the High Court end in the afternoon and even his fourth ball too was a no ball.
But it was the fifth ball when he was spot on and Santosh Sabanayakan was dismissed for a golden duck, who looked simply clueless in front of a sharp incoming bouncer as the ball nicked his bat before Wriddhiman Saha took a decent catch behind the stumps.
Shami soon looked uncomfortable and his teammates were seen helping him with a towel as he had to leave the field with Sourav Mondal completing the over.
Focused completely on the West Indies tour starting from next month, Shami returned to action in the 14th over and bowled six overs in tandem.
Wriddhiman Saha also praised the pink ball experiment.
“Every ball is swinging a bit either way which was never the case with the red kookaburra. The visibility is perfect.
Red or white, the ball invariably lost its colour after it became old. But here there’s no such difficulty at all. The pink ball has better visibility. But batsmen will have a problem if a pacer consistently bowls 140k.”