Like the pink ball, there was a lot riding on Mohammed Shami in the final of the CAB Super League between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore. If there was no opening blues for the ball on Saturday, Shami showed on Sunday that even when bowling within himself, he was too good for Bhowanipore batsmen.
On a green top, the India bowler, who has struggled with surgery and breakdowns, bounced out the Bhowanipore top-order before cleaning up the tail with sharp movement off the pitch. He went off after 2.5 overs with a stiff neck but returned to bowl three more spells. With India going to the West Indies next month, Shami finished with five for 42 bowling 13.4 overs. Hours after his spell, Shami was seen fiddling with the ball he got as keepsake.
“It swung under lights and that’s what I like about this pink ball. I would like bowling with this over a red or white cricket ball. And on a dry, flat track, I also think it will reverse. Also, it is so bright,” said Shami.
To that India wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha added: “The sighting’s good. The white ball tends to lose colour after a while and the red ball does become blacker. But this one doesn’t. Also, each delivery is doing a bit. Add to that someone such as Shami bowling at 140kmph.”
Saha was bounced out first ball by medium-pacer Ayan Bhattacharya who took all four Mohun Bagan wickets.
When Shami was hitting the pitch hard and exposing chinks in the Bhowanipore batsmen’s technique and footwork, Sanjeev Sanyal was getting it to swing. Mohun Bagan’s close-catching too was superb and Bhowanipore were down to 24/5 and 45/7 before Sujit Yadav joined Uddipan Mukherjee and put on 60 runs.
All Bhowanipore wickets too went to medium-pacers and the jury is out on how it would aid spinners. Reason enough to follow the last two days of this experiment.