Indian Cricket gets ready to go pink, says Harsha Bhogle

The pink ball seems to have passed its first challenge in India. And that is excellent. As I have often argued, even though it is possibly sometime in the distance, it could be the future of test cricket. It is a form of the game that is difficult to sustain with changing lifestyles, preferences and attention spans and so we must give it every possible opportunity. Two test players, a batsman and a bowler which was perfect really, played the game and both were happy with the way the pink ball behaved. It helps that the batsman in question, Wriddhiman Saha, is also India’s keeper at the moment. Mohd Shami seemed to enjoy bowling with it because it swung a fair bit, apparently more than the red ball does, and bowlers can do with whatever assistance they can get! The concern was that it would get discoloured and certainly the photographs we saw seemed to suggest it held up well. There are a couple of sterner tests ahead for the pink ball. Kolkata at this time of the year doesn’t have dew so that was one issue that wasn’t addressed. And we need to see how the ball fares on an abrasive surface though I would like to believe that most Indian pitches are inherently abrasive! But the fact that the ball didn’t need to be changed for seventy five overs is a welcome sign. I was at the press conference before the game started in Kolkata and Star Sports had assembled a group of experts to talk about it and it was revealing to see the mindset of Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Dean Jones. Ganguly had played with the pink ball and he thought that if anything, it was easier to sight. But both he and VVS Laxman were adamant that the challenges in the path, different conditions at one stage of the innings and then quite remarkably different at another stage, were part of what makes Test cricket such a compelling experience.

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