Eden Gardens is all decked up to host India’s first-ever pink-ball Test under its towering floodlights. From the day it was announced that the second Test of the two-match series between India and Bangladesh will be a Day-Night affair, excitements have only grown upwards.
Now with only a day left before the players take to the greens of the iconic Eden Gardens, Indian skipper Virat Kohli addressed the media in his pre-match press conference.
Speaking about the challenges that he felt the players could face, Kohli said that fielding would be an issue as even in the training session they faced some difficulties.
“Batting is something we were focusing a lot. As batsmen, you think of cutting down those errors when you are playing with a different-coloured ball. We were looking to solidify our technique. We are fine with that. But what surprised me were fielding sessions,” Kohli was quoted as saying by IANS.
“How in the slips the ball hits your hand so hard, it almost felt like a heavy hockey ball or those synthetic balls you used to play with as a kid. It felt like that on the hand and it’s purely because of extra glaze on the ball. It’s much more hardened and felt a little heavy although there won’t be much of a difference in terms of weight. Even the throws took a lot more effort than the red ball to reach the keeper,” the skipper added.
The batsmen, according to him, would have to be extra careful in keeping a check on their off-stump. He believes the pink ball, due to its greater swinging ability, could be deceptive to the eyes of the batsmen.
“Your idea of off-stump, that’s going to be the most crucial thing because even yesterday when we practised, we felt that the ball could be closer to you but it’s actually not that close to the off-stump. That channel one has to be careful,” he said.
On being asked if India would now be open to playing Day-Night Tests in away series as well like in next year’s Australia tour, Kohli said they would if there are practice matches.
Even during India’s last visit to down under, Cricket Australia (CA) had insisted that India play one Test under the lights. But the Indian team management refused.
“Obviously, we wanted to get a feel of pink-ball cricket. Eventually, it had to happen. But you can’t just bring those things up before a big tour and suddenly in the schedule, there is a pink ball Test, when we have not even practised with a pink ball. We have not played any first-class game with the pink ball,” PTI quoted Kohli as saying.
However, Kohli is also of the belief that the pink-ball Test could not be the future of cricket’s longest format. He said that by starting the day late, one takes the “nervousness in the first session in the morning”.
“Yes, you can bring excitement into Test cricket but you can’t purely make Test cricket based on just entertaining people. You know the entertainment of Test cricket lies in the fact that a batsman is trying to survive a session and a bowler is trying to get a batsman out, and if people don’t respond to that, too bad. Whoever wants to respond to that will come and watch Test cricket. If I don’t like Test cricket, you can’t push me to like Test cricket”, the 32-year-old added.