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Duleep Trophy: Players unimpressed by quality of pink ball

Domestic players, who have been enjoying cricket under the lights on experimental basis in Duleep Trophy for the second consecutive season, want a few serious changes and the quality of the ball is the biggest worry for them

cricket Updated: Sep 25, 2017 13:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Duleep Trophy,Dinesh Karthik,Priyank Panchal
Dinesh Karthik says the difference between SG and Kookaburra balls is difficult for the players to handle.(HT Photo)

The idea to play Test cricket under the lights and that too with pink ball did not go down well with many greats, including master blaster Sachin Tendulkar.

Domestic players, who have been enjoying this style of cricket on experimental basis in Duleep Trophy for the second consecutive season, want a few serious changes and the quality of the ball is the biggest worry for them.

Experienced keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik didn’t reject the concept of India playing the Test match under the lights and with the pink ball, but underlined the difficulties for bowlers, especially spinners.

“I find a decent crowd coming to watch cricket, especially the night cricket. It is okay if that is the concept of the game, but I believe dew factor as well as the difference between the SG and Kookaburra balls are difficult for the players to handle,” Karthik told Hindustan Times on the eve of the Duleep Trophy final between India Red and India Blue here.

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“Sometimes it suits the bowlers and sometimes not. The Kookaburra pink ball helps pace bowlers to swing a bit in the initial overs, but bowling a reverse swing with this is very difficult. For pink ball, you need to have good season as black seam onto it doesn’t allow the spinners to turn the ball much.”

“In India, cricket mostly depends on spin bowling and having many wickets like our spinners get with the SG ball is very difficult. This ball can only be suitable in a favourable weather,” said Karthik, who struck a century for India Red against India Green in the opening Duleep Trophy match here earlier this month.

India’s new batting sensation in domestic cricket – Gujarat’s Priyank Panchal –also accepted that he had to make changes in his batting style while playing with the pink ball.

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“The Kookaburra ball wasn’t coming properly under the lights, and I had to make amends in my batting style,” Panchal said after hitting centuries in both the innings for India Red in the opening match here.

In its first season in Duleep Trophy last year, Cheteshwar Pujara made hay under the lights with 453 runs in just two matches while China man bowler Kuldeep Yadav (17 wickets) and Ravindra Jadeja (10 wickets) also had a good time with the ball.

This season too, four centuries and one double century have been scored in three matches, and spinners like Karn Sharma bagged 15 wickets in two matches, whereas offie Parvez Rasool had five in an innings only.

Only time will tell the future of Test cricket under lights with pink ball in India, but for now it is yet another time for fans to enjoy this format of cricket in the five-day Duleep Trophy final starting Monday at the Ekana International Cricket Stadium from 1.30 pm to 8.30 pm.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 13:59 IST