Former India opener Gautam Gambhir believes that batsmen can counter the challenge the pink ball throws up due to its prodigious movement, if they had the right mindset and stuck to basics.
The Delhi Ranji captain, who will lead India Blue against Yuvraj Singh’s India Red, looked forward to the day-night Duleep Trophy tie starting on Monday in Greater Noida.
“It (pink ball cricket) is very exciting, especially when lights are on. I am looking forward to it,” he said.
Gambhir played down the hype around pink ball. “I know the pink ball does move a bit, but as an opener I have to deal with it. That challenge is always there, even against the red SG or Kookaburra balls. However, as professional cricketers, we must be ready. And the spinners have to get used to gripping the pink ball.”
The first match, which India Red won by 219 runs against India Green, saw 17 wickets tumble on the first day and then spinners took charge in the end. If pacers dominated the opening day, spinners collectively took 21 wickets to the 18 that fell to pace.
Gambhir said: “It comes down to mindset. The basics of the game remain the same. You still have to negotiate the new ball, and first session of first day is going to be crucial.”
The 34-year-old didn’t read much into the help seamers from both teams got on first day of the series opener that saw 17 wickets fall.
“I am not reading too much into it. Maybe the players were a bit nervous considering that it was the first day of the domestic season. Once the nerves go away and you hit the game mode, things do get easy. I haven’t seen the wicket yet, but having the right mindset is important.”
Gambhir last played a Test two years ago, but said his team would not be playing for personal glory. “A lot of people have told me to focus on individual performance in Duleep Trophy. Well, that’s not going to happen under me. We will be playing as a team and to win the tournament. That’s the way cricket should be played.”
India Blue trained for around two hours on Sunday with Jammu and Kashmir off-spinner Parvez Rasool and UP leg-spinner Karn Sharma getting an extended bowl. Seamers Mohit Sharma and Pankaj Singh also sweated it out in the nets.
India Red, who won easily against the Suresh Raina-led India Green, did not train.