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Wriddhiman Saha sights challenges over pink ball in Kolkata


Kolkata: As India and Bangladesh enter unchartered terrain with their debut day-night Test match, ball visibility, so crucial in a cricket contest, remains the vexed question. No less intriguing is speculation over how the pink ball is going to behave, particularly in the light of an SG ball replacing the older make.

On Wednesday, a couple of days before the ‘historic’ Test begins at the Eden Gardens, both Wriddhiman Saha and Daniel Vettori agreed that the pink ball and the conditions do need some getting used to. Saha reminded that “we have more experience with pink ball cricket than our opponents” thanks to three seasons of day-night Duleep Trophy matches. Ironically, though, the tournament was been back to red-ball contests under daylight this season.

Understandably, both Vettori and Saha identified twilight as being the most challenging period each day of the Test. While Vettori, Bangladesh’s bowling consultant, sees it as something that needs to be tactically exploited, Saha is busy bracing for the ‘sighting challenge’, as a wicketkeeper and as a batsman.

“It will be somewhat difficult picking the ball at twilight and I’ll have to be very alive to the challenge,” said Saha, 35, reminding: “Unlike in the shorter versions, batsmen allow a lot more deliveries to go through to the ‘keeper. And the ball wobbles when our pacers bowl.”

PIC/AFPPic /AFP

Saha, who wasn’t among those that stayed back in Indore after the early end to the first Test to get some practice with the pink ball, acknowledged similar difficulties for other fielders as well.

“In white ball cricket, the feel doesn’t change even when the ball gets old because of the black screen. We’ll have to find out how it is when the pink ball gets old,” Saha said.

Vettori, who admitted to gathering his impressions “only from watching TV”, felt fielders square to the wicket may face the biggest challenge sighting
the ball.

Saha doesn’t see too much into the “advantage” of having played a local league final at the venue three years ago with the pink ball. “We had played with the Kookaburra ball then and it’s SG now; they are different and behave differently as well,” he responded during a media interaction before Wednesday’s practice in those conditions.

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