Pink-ball buzz masks visibility concerns in Kolkata test

Cricket – Australia v South Africa – Third Test cricket match – Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Australia – 23/11/16. A pink cricket ball is used during a training session for the Australian team in Adelaide. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) – The buzz in both dressing rooms is palpable but India and Bangladesh will head into their maiden day-night test with a common concern about visibility of the pink ball to be used for the landmark match in Kolkata.

The players appear genuinely excited and are leaving no stones unturned in their preparation for the match which will get underway in front of sellout crowds at Eden Gardens on Friday.

Since Adelaide hosted the first day-light test in 2015, there have been murmurs about the visibility of the pink balls, especially at twilight.

Equipment manufacturer Sanspareils Greenlands have assured their pink balls would not discolor easily but concerns linger in both camps.

“Visibility is fine, the only anecdotal conversation I’ve heard is around being a little bit hard to pick up from point and square-leg,” Bangladesh spin consultant Daniel Vettori told reporters on Wednesday.

“That’s what I’ve heard from umpires. It will be interesting to see if slip, gully, point and umpires are able to see it that easy. Because they say there’s a small halo effect that the ball has.”

The former New Zealand captain said Bangladesh had just one practice session under the lights in Kolkata and they would rather wait to see how it unfolds.

“We are excited to find out how it plays out rather than worry about these little things that could go wrong. The guys are looking forward to it,” Vettori said.

The exaggerated swing of the pink ball is expected to trouble the batsmen, even though it maybe difficult to generate any reverse swing from the heavily-lacquered balls.

“The four fast bowlers are very excited,” Vettori said.

“It is a nice thing. Bangladeshi fast bowlers don’t get to be excited a lot. I think they are coming to grips with a slightly different ball.”

The hosts have their own concerns about the visibility of the ball and India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha is expecting a tough time behind the stumps.

“At twilight, when the ball gets a bit old, picking that darker ball may not be easy. It could be tough for the keeper and the slip fielders,” said the 35-year-old.

“It’s especially tricky for the wicket-keeper because batsmen leave a lot more ball in test matches, compared to limited-overs cricket. And the way our pacers bowl, it often wobbles before I collect them.

“The background and crowd movement are the two other issues that may affect the ball’s visibility.”

After thumping Bangladesh inside three days in the series opener in Indore, India are one draw away from their 12th consecutive home series victory.



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