Red and white may continue to be the cynosure of all eyes when it comes to cricket balls but the bright pink is slowly but surely making its presence felt. No wonder the pink ball continued to make more than just guest appearances during the discussions even when its white cousin was disappearing into the night sky many times from Rohit Sharma’s bat in Rajkot a couple of days ago. The discussions are set to grow with SG delivering the first lot of pink balls to BCCI by this weekend.
The SG pink ball will be used for the first time in the historic India-Bangladesh Day/Night Test match at Eden Gardens Kolkata starting on November 22. The Test match will not only be the first Day/Night affair for both the sides but it will also mark the first official appearance of SG pink balls. In the 11 Day/Night Tests played so far, only the Kookaburra and Dukes pink balls have been used. The pink balls used in India between 2016-18 seasons of Duleep Trophy were also manufactured by Kookaburra.
One of the main reasons for shifting to SG pink balls for the Bangladesh Day/Night Test was to avoid using two different balls for the same series. “No, it can’t be because the series has to be played with same ball. It can’t be two different balls in the same series,” said BCCI president Sourav Ganguly.
“The first lot of our pink balls will be dispatched to the board latest by this weekend,” SG marketing and sales director Paras Anand told Hindustan Times.
SG will send 60 balls to BCCI in the first lot. The board will then distribute them between India and Bangladesh teams to help them prepare before the Day/Night Test at Kolkata.
“We are dispatching five dozens in the first lot and can send more if the board asks for it,” added Anand.
Notably, the first lot of pink balls were supposed to be delivered to BCCI by 7th November but SG had to delay it by a couple of days because of some logistical constraints. “Yes, we were supposed to deliver them by 7th but there has been a slight delay. Now we will do it by this weekend,” said Anand.
The idea behind an early delivery was to allow both India and Bangladesh cricketers enough time to prepare for their first Day/Night Test. A gap of only 3 days between the first Test at Indore and the Day/Night Test in Kolkata might even prompt the teams to keep special practice sessions with the pink ball before the first Test.
Anand, however, was of the opinion that it should not take much time for the cricketers to adjust with the shiny pink ball. “I don’t think adjustment will be an issue. They are international cricketers and besides, we have tested the ball in all conditions including real-match stimulations, the visibility and hardness won’t be an issue,” informed Anand.
Majority of the cricketers will be playing with the pink ball for the first time in their careers. If it does matter than India appears to be the better prepared because of the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, and Kuldeep Yadav’s experience of playing with the Kookaburra pink ball in Duleep Trophy. Mohammed Shami and Wriddhiman Saha too have had their share of playing under lights with the pink ball in a CAB league match, which incidentally was the first pink ball affair in India.
Bangladesh, on other hand, have played only one first-class match with the pink ball.
“See, it will be a new thing for everyone. Hopefully, everything will be smooth,”added Anand.
The two teams are currently busy with the T20I series, which is locked at 1-1. The decider will be played at Nagpur on Sunday.