The staid old world of cricket has been shaken many times over the recent decades with new ideas, rules and even formats. Now, under onslaught is the red ball, with authorities increasingly looking to experiment with a pink ball. Things have progressed to quite an extent.
The learnings from the first Test with a pink ball that was played in Australia, based on feedback of players, includes ball not being easy to see at dusk, it swung more than the red one, wore out faster and many more, have gone and put authorities on the backfoot. So, the pink ball has a long way to go but that is not stopping the Indian cricket board from experimenting and that too very soon – the pink ball rule will be implemented in Duleep Trophy most likely in September. And here we present some notable concerns in India:
While there is no guarantee that the Australian problems will replicate themselves in India, the conditions after all are entirely different, but they cannot be ruled out offhand and in fact preparations will be made keeping those in mind. To deal in certainties, BCCI is interested finding out first-hand how the pink ball behaves in Indian conditions. The top players in the country will be taking to the ground in the Duleep Trophy tournament and their reactions will go a long way in deciding which way the board tilts.
The pink ball has not held up well under playing conditions and that means the pitch may well have to be prepared in a manner to ensure minimal wear and tear. An Indian Express report says, before the Adelaide Test, the permission of both the captains Steve Smith and Brendon McCullum was taken to maintain grass length as high as 11 mm. However, the game concluded in three days and both captains said the length of the grass may well have played a huge role in deciding the fate of the game.
With all teams looking to derive maximum home advantage, stepping into uncertainty and actually losing a Test is something that no captain wants. So, exactly how the matches pan out during the Duleep Trophy will play a huge role in what step the BCCI takes next. What we are talking about is long grass and spinners don’t really go together. Will India be prepared to take that risk is anybody’s guess at the moment.
Another experiment to base the decision on happened in Pakistan during their premier first-class tournament Quaid-e-Azam where fast bowlers took 27 of the 34 wickets to fall. What is worse, not even one century was posted. Veteran Pakistan player Misbah-ul-Haq had this to say, “The new pink ball was seaming a lot, the moisture on the pitch (due to heavy dew) made it tough for the batsmen. Even lining up for high catches for fielders was a challenge as the visibility of the ball wasn’t all that great.”
The Duleep Trophy will be played in South India in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mysore.