Makers promise seam & shine
The pink SG ball would be making its debut in the India versus Bangladesh Day-Night Test at Eden Gardens beginning Friday.
The red SG ball has already been subjected to criticism related to its quality. So in order to ensure no complaints arise regarding the pink ball, the makers have made the necessary changes in accordance with instructions from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly.
However, not everyone is certain whether it will meet the required standards.
“There are two things that we have been told to do. One is that the seam should be like that of the red ball. The other is that the ball should stay hard… This is the brief we have got from the BCCI,” Paras Anand, marketing director of SG (Sanspareils Greenlands) told The Telegraph.
“What we have tried to do is apart from the coating there on the ball — the colour which you need — we have made the layers of coat such that it lasts 80 overs.
“Apart from that, we have tried to ensure that the seam is pronounced while the hardness is also maintained. The world is now talking about the Indian fast bowlers’ superb performance, so we want to ensure those elements are not missed in the pink ball.
“That has been the whole exercise we’ve been doing,” Paras explained.
Along with seam and swing, extra bounce too appeared to be another feature of this pink ball, something
that was noticed during India’s optional training under lights on Sunday at the Holkar Stadium.
But sources claim that the actual ball with which the first-ever Day-Night Test in India will be played is softer and “darker than pink with an orange tinge on it.” And the team batting first is likelier to face more problems.
“The actual ball is darker than pink with an orange tinge on it. It will be softer.
“The ball, as of now, will never have the same feel as a red one. It will take time and get better once you start playing with it. Overnight, you won’t have the perfect ball.
“If we are expecting this to be a perfect ball from the very first day, we will be fooling ourselves. It’s not going to be like that,” a former India Test cricketer said.
“The team that bats first will most likely be having more problems. Hardly anyone in either of the two teams has a clue on how to go about the pink ball… may be (Cheteshwar) Pujara because he has played Duleep Trophy with it although it was a Kookaburra ball.”
The testing time especially for batsmen will be the twilight period, while for bowlers, dew could make the going really tough. “Yeah, obviously, there would be more seam and swing when lights are on and if there’s dew, there will be the usual difficulties for the bowlers. A bit like how it is in white-ball cricket… The ball will skid on,” Anand said.
Afghanistan coach and former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener gave an elaborate account of how tough the pink ball can be.
Recalling the pink-ball four-day Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth in December 2017, Klusener, the then batting coach of the visiting team, said: “It’s a tough time to bat in terms of viewing… Ball just nipped around a little bit more…
“Majority of the wickets fell in the evening in that Test (which got over in two days). It could possibly be a viewing issue with a little bit of dew settling in as well. It was really, really tough…
“The challenges of batting against the pink ball under lights are very real, while it’s obviously a difficult time for a batsman during twilight.
“I always found it difficult even with the white ball at
that time of the evening and with a little bit of dew settling on the wicket, the ball kind
of skidding on and may be
the grass standing up a little bit. It’s not an situation to be in for a player.”