The pink ball swings more than the red one but how it would behave after getting old, especially when dew will be a factor, is keeping India skipper Virat Kohli intrigued ahead of team’s historic day-night Test against Bangladesh. The pink ball Test is still a few days away but Kohli, on the eve of the series-opener, was busy answering questions related to the second Test starting November 22.
“I think it’s a new way to bring excitement to Test cricket. The pink ball I played yesterday, I felt it swings a lot more as compared to the red ball because there’s extra lacquer (quote of paint) on the ball which doesn’t go away too fast. And the seam holds upright quite a bit,” the skipper’s initial observation seemed in sync with what his deputy Ajinkya Rahane had assessed.
Kohli said they are yet to figure out how the old ball will behave during November evenings in Kolkata. “If the pitch has extra help for the bowlers, then they will be in the game, especially fast bowlers throughout the course of the Test match. I don’t know how the old ball behaves because with the dew and the lacquer going off, it will be interesting to see how much the old ball does,” the skipper said.
However he made it clear that for a pink ball to be effective, it is important to have lively tracks. “With the pink ball having enough life in the pitch will be very important factor.”
The Indian team did not practice with the pink ball under lights but did take a few throw-downs on Tuesday to adjust to the colour of the new ball.
“I hadn’t played with the pink ball before. I was given an opportunity to try and I wanted to. So that was my mind-set behind playing with the pink ball. You require extra concentration to pick the pink ball suddenly when you’re playing with the red ball.
“It was to work on the reflexes a little bit as well. Because when you play with the red ball in the net and you arrive at the pink ball, it gets very difficult to pick, which can be the case in the game as well. To get into that zone was the reason behind it,” he explained.
The skipper also maintained that while the hype about the day-night Test is understandable, the focus of his team is firmly on the first game. A testimony to that was no ‘pink ball’ training on the eve of the match. “In Test cricket, I don’t think you can afford to take focus away. Not even one session, not even one over. With the red ball you need to be absolutely precise in your focus, every game that you play, every ball that you play, every situation that you are in. Our prime focus is tomorrow’s Test match.
“We are looking forward to that first and then we will focus on the pink ball later,” he made it clear.
When the question of having permanent Test venues popped up once again, Kohli said he prefers having a structure for traditional format. You don’t want centres like Indore to host Test matches, a scribe asked pointedly. “I said that because if you look at the ratio, a stadium like Indore attracted a decent crowd but a lot of others didn’t. And it can’t be that one stadium gets games and the others don’t.
“Indore is the kind of place where if you play a T20, you won’t find a single empty seat. And in one-dayers it won’t be empty at all. It’s not about taking away matches from them. Just a vision about how we can get together and raise Test cricket,” he said.
On the opposition, Kohli termed Mustafizur Rahaman as the man to watch out for. “He is a very good bowler so he’s going be a threat, a key player for Bangladesh. He’s an experienced bowler. He knows the Indian batsmen as well, having played the IPL. So, it’s a challenge but we must look forward to those challenges,” Kohli said.