As India gear up for their first-ever day-night Test with the pink ball, to be held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata from November 23, they have only two players in their ranks with some prior experience of playing the new format.
Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami were a part of the Mohun Bagan AC club team which had faced Bhowanipore Club in the Cricket Association of Bengal’s (CAB) Super League Final at the Eden Gardens in 2016. Notably, that was also the first-ever pink-ball match in India.
Saha admitted that it would be a challenge for the team to switch from red ball to pink within a span of four days as the first Test could run till November 18.
“This will be a new challenge in front of us. We have not played Tests with the pink ball. I have been part of a domestic pink ball multi-day game. Challenge is there in every sport. The more you are challenged as a team, you get better and I am sure we will do that,” Saha was quoted as saying to IANS.
The Bengal duo of Saha and Shami will be key to India’s practice and would be expected to share their experiences. The pacer had taken a five-for in the first innings and returned with a match haul of seven wickets.
On being asked about his experience, Shami had cast his vote in favour of the pink ball over red. “I’ll prefer pink-ball any day, hope this pink-ball match prospers. The best thing is you got to bowl only one session under sun. Then the ball starts doing the talk once the lights are on,” the 28-year-old was quoted as saying by PTI.
“I got reverse swing in the first innings. I think if the condition is dry, the ball will reverse. The seam usually does not remain intact after 40 overs but it’s not the case with the pink ball,” he had further added.
His experience and love for the pink ball added with the vicious pace attack of India could give Virat Kohli & Co. the edge. Saha, on the other hand, had a pretty lackadaisical outing and could manage a meagre 33 runs with the bat and affected only a single dismissal in both the innings of the game.
“Sometimes it was becoming difficult to pick the ball,” the wicket-keeper said. But that hasn’t deterred his spirit to give the pink-ball another try and he remains hopeful that the Indian team would excel in this format as well.
The brainchild of the newly-elected BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, the Eden Test will be the 12th Day-Night Test and, in India and Bangladesh, will feature the only two teams among the top-10 Test-playing nations who haven’t yet tried the format.
Ganguly has always been an eager advocate for the Day-Night Tests and speculations had gone rife when reports emerged that he was keen to make sure the second Test was played under the lights.
After days of rumours and anticipations, the Indian captain Virat Kohli and the management were finally known to be convinced and BCCI sent their request to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to give their nod. The BCB did not take long and agreed to feature in the Day-Night Test.
Heaping praise on Ganguly, Saha said, “He has dominated world cricket and now people are expecting the same vigour from him (as an administrator). Everybody is looking forward to something new from him. It has started and if the players benefit from it, it’s great.”