Pink balls and cricket definitely haven’t gone together. But that is not where the issue ends as BCCI, the keen experimenter that it is, has been weighing various options before it and playing cricket with pink balls is one them alongside day/night cricket – under lights.
Conditions? There are many. From the fear of losing the home advantage (for the host team) as well as a match, to player safety, everything comes into play and foremost among them is whether the players will feel comfortable playing in such conditions. Still, Kolkata, according to an Indian Express report, may well get the honour of being the first in India to host a pink-ball test in October-November and that too against New Zealand.
However, the decision will be taken if, and only if, Duleep Trophy, to be played in September with a pink ball under lights, manages to prove the viability of such an experiment – the tournament will be held sometime in September.
The reason why Kolkata is leading the pack is because the BCCI tour programme and fixtures committee’s picked the city as one of the venues alongside Indore and Kanpur, for the three-Test home series against New Zealand. Eden Gardens looks to be at the front by dint of its being one of the most famous grounds in the world. Add to that the fact that the stadium will play host to CAB Super League final in June itself – the country’s first-ever pink ball multi-day tournament under lights.
In his reaction to the Indian Express, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President Sourav Ganguly however, sounded a note of caution, “It’s too early. All depends on the Duleep Trophy. It will give us an idea if at all pink ball cricket is a viable option in Indian conditions. Several issues need to be assessed – whether the pink ball can hold up for a substantial period, how much we need to change pitch conditions, dew factor and if the players are feeling comfortable with the changes.”