Former Indian cricketer and India Green coach WV Raman has said playing with the pink ball will test the adaptability of players as they enter a relatively less known territory. In what will be a maiden first-class match in India with a pink ball, India Green will take on India Red in the Duleep Trophy opener starting on Tuesday in Greater Noida.
Raman said it is difficult to form an opinion of the ball after just one practice session, but said players would be a “lot wiser” after the first game. “One thing is the visibility of the ball is going to be good. So I don’t think that is going to be a problem,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
“But, in the match, there is a possibility that the breeze can be on and off which means the ball sometimes can swing, sometimes not swing. Even while fielding the ball might swirl a bit [for] the tall catches, sometimes it may not swirl. You never know.”
The pink ball has created the curiosity among the fans, the BCCI’s ambition of staging a day-night Test with a pink ball during a long home season hinges heavily upon the successful trial of the ball during the tournament. Raman said durability of the pink ball Kookaburra ball in Indian conditions would be a big factor in determining its success.
“The one big challenge is to see how long the ball lasts in our conditions,” he said. “We have not seen a lot of wear and tear if there is a whole lot of dew and moisture in a day-night four or five-day game. That means the wear and tear that you expect on the last and penultimate days of a five-day game may not be there.
“There are a lot of unknowns. One thing for sure – the adaptability of the players will be tested. It will be interesting to see the unknowns unfold, based on which players will have to adapt. That will make it quite exciting to watch.”
Raman also felt pitch itself might not be a huge contribution to the wear and tear of the ball. “It is more of the outfield being good enough to preserve the colour and the hardness of the ball,” Raman pointed out. “I think, according to the manufacturers, that is what they are looking at – [if] the venues and the outfields are conducive to the ball retaining its colour, hardness, and shape. We have to wait and see.”
Karnataka batsman Robin Uthappa, who played the pink Duke’s ball in the Karnataka Premier League, said fast bowlers and batsmen would face equal challenges. “Back then it swung a lot, there was a lot of extra bounce,” he said recently. “It will be a very good challenge for the fast bowlers and top-order batsmen. We will have to wait and see how we shine the ball; how we can maintain that kind of ball. A lot of these finer details you will only really understand once you have really played with it for a certain while.
“From a top-order batsman’s perspective, I am just trying to understand how much the ball is going to swing. It will be interesting to see how different is it, how long is this going to swing – is this going to swing like the SG ball where it doesn’t swing the first few overs and then swings for the next 35-40 overs, or will it be that Kookaburra ball where it swings the first 20 overs and after that it doesn’t do much. The more we practice with the ball the more understanding we have.”