Test drives craze for pink ball in Bengal
Rajib Sen thought Saturday would be just another day when he closed his sporting goods store in Burdwan town to attend the first day-night Test match in Calcutta on Friday.
The pink ball threw Sen a bouncer, though, following India’s lead on Day 1.
“When I returned and opened my store on Saturday, a young boy came running asking for a pink ball. Soon, dozens of children, young professional cricketers, and even parents came asking for one,” Sen said on Monday.
“I am tired of telling disappointed customers that they will have to wait for a few days,” he said, referring to the solitary pink-lacquered Sanspareils Greenlands (SG) ball in his display cabinet. Sen said it was only for display.
“The Test was a huge success. I am confident that we will increase our production capacity of the ball,” Paras Anand, marketing director of SG, said on Monday.
“There is definitely an excitement about the pink ball, and the fact there is such a huge interest from the districts is a very, very positive sign.”
Calcutta’s wholesale traders of sporting goods said demand for the pink ball had gone up among city retailers after the weekend.
“It is unusual given that no one ever asked for a pink ball earlier... but we are not surprised either given the success of the match,” a trader said.
Puneet Sachdev, the owner of Free India Sports Industries, a wholesale trader of sporting goods in Calcutta, has sold at least 15 packets of pink balls over the past three days and plans to order more from the manufacturer.
“We did not have a large stock of pink balls because retailers did not ask for it before this Test match. The demand spiked wildly this weekend,” he said.
“I can confirm that I sold 15-20 boxes of pink balls in the past three days, which is unusual in my experience. I am definitely going to place large orders.”
Stand-alone shop owners in the districts who normally don’t transact directly with big sporting manufacturers said the demand they would have to cater to this week would be no less than large stores in Calcutta.
“I have been told that a company in Punjab produces the pink balls. I will contact them,” Atanu Ghosh, the owner of Sports Tagoreland in Bolpur, said.