The historic day and night test cricket that was first played in 2015 between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide received a lot of criticism from the cricketing fraternity. The much-hyped "Pink Ball" didn't get the positive feedback and was criticized by the former and current crop of players. The ball, which is designed to be more visible in lights than the traditional red ball and made especially for day-night tests, has not delighted the batsmen at all. Talking about the Duleep Trophy here which has been experimenting with the pink ball from last three seasons is now back to the original form of the cricket and will be playing with the red ball.
The tournament which is scheduled to start from August 17 to September 9 at Bengaluru's Chinnaswamy Stadium will feature India's top domestic stars and will be played under the natural lights. The reason that the BCCI gave to scrap the day-night test was the lack of TV coverage that they received during the last three seasons. Only the final match of the Duleep Trophy will be played with the pink ball which will be aired live.
Red over Pink
From day one when the pink ball was introduced, the cricketers were really skeptical about giving it a try. The domestic players who have been playing the last three editions of Duleep Trophy with the pink ball are looking out for serious changes and for them the quality of the ball is one of the biggest concerning factor that has come out in the spotlight.
Technically speaking, the day and night test is really difficult to play with a flashing ball and that too under the lights as it becomes really difficult for the bowlers to be decisive. Also, the dew factor is there at night and the players find it difficult to gauge the difference between the SG and Kookaburra balls.
Fluctuations in the adaptation of the pink ball have been observed from the time it has been introduced. Sometimes it suits the bowlers and sometimes the things just go wrong. The pink ball is helpful for the seamers in the initial overs as it gets a good swing, but then bowling with a reverse swing becomes difficult. The biggest problem with the pink ball is that it is of no use for the spinners as the ball does not turn as required.
Pink ball and Indian conditions
Indian bowling line-up is heavily dependent on spinners during the test matches and like it has already been observed that the pink ball is not feasible for the spinners, no wonder the Indian skipper and BCCI are not in favor of playing the important matches with the pink ball. The spinners successfully get the wickets with the SG ball and the pink ball is suitable in favorable weather only.
Also, the players have made complaints about the ball not coming on the bat under the lights and they had to mold their game especially for the day-night cricket. It is not that the players are not getting along with the ball, in its first season in Duleep Trophy last year, Cheteshwar Pujara made hay under the lights with 453 runs in just two matches while bowler Kuldeep Yadav bundled up 17 wickets and Ravindra Jadeja successfully took 10 wickets. But the Indian cricketers are a bit hesitant about playing with the pink ball for the international matches.
The Indian team till date has not played even a single day and night test match, therefore, the team will surely not take the risk during the important test matches.
World Test Championship with Pink Ball
BCCI has already declared that the Indian team will not play with the pink ball in the near future. Thus, it is pretty much clear that any matches of WTC will be played only with the red ball as they are important for the team to win. India have once refused to play day-night Test matches against Australia where they said they lack exposure to the pink ball.
The players are not at all enthused with the pink ball and the ball indeed needs a lot of work to be done to make it more adaptable especially for the Indian conditions. And that is the reason why Indian players are so reluctant to play with it. The ball loses its shine quickly and does not help the pacers as well as the spinners after first 50 to 60 overs and therefore, the remaining game just goes in favor of the batsman with no reverse swing or drift and we all know how much the reverse swing matters in a test match.
It is true that the pink ball needs a lot of work, but then the players will have to tweak their game according to the ball. The players are always in the process to make changes in their game as the formats are very demanding these days. And moreover, these changes need to be made quickly. But with the pink ball, the future of the cricket looks difficult as till date there have been just four international test matches that have taken places. The very first match was played in 2015 between Australia and New Zealand, then it was played by Pakistan and West Indies in 2016 in Dubai and Australia-South Africa in Adelaide and again by Australia and Pakistan in Brisbane in 2016 itself. And now its been three years there have been no day-night test matches played internationally.
In order to play more than one session under the lights, that kind of net sessions and practice is needed which is not possible for the teams to give that amount of time at night as well for the game. And if India by any chance agree for a day-night test cricket then the other teams will also be tempted for that, especially Australia, and India are surely not looking to give any kind of loophole to the opposition at the time of WTC.
Coming back to the Duleep Trophy again, if BCCI is not having any plans with the pink ball, then there is no point to put the domestic players in the adverse conditions for the test match as this experience will be of no use for them in the international cricket circuit.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are the personal views of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)