Five Indian players are set to get down to practice with pink balls at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) on Sunday in order to prepare themselves for the upcoming Day-Night Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata, starting November 22. Earlier, the practice session was scheduled to last for two days but Sanspariel Greenlands (SG) -- the supplier of the pink ball, could only manage to deliver the required amount on Saturday, thus, restricting it to just a day on Sunday. The Bangladesh team will also get the pink balls on Monday in Indore, where they are currently practising for the first Test of the two-match series, starting on November 14.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the decision to provide some practice to the players before the first Test itself, was taken by NCA chief Rahul Dravid after consulting the Indian team management. Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammad Shami and Ravindra Jadeja will be taking part in the practice session in Bengaluru.
However, this won't be the first time any of them will play with the pink SG as Agarwal, Pujara, Rahane have all played with the pink ball in Duleep Trophy. But, that time, it was a Kookaburra ball and not SG. So far, in 11 day-night affairs, either the Kookaburra or the Dukes pink ball have been used. Earlier, recently appointed Board of Control for Cricket in India [BCCI] president Sourav Ganguly ruled out the possibility of playing with the Kookaburra.
"No, it can’t be (used) because the series has to be played with the same ball. It can’t be two different balls in the same series," Ganguly said.
The Test team has to report in Indore by Monday and a one-day session will be taking place under lights.
"The practice will be on centre wicket where practice will be done in the form of match stimulation. Dravid, too, will be part of it. The Karnataka State Cricket Association will provide bowlers and fielders for the session. We wanted to have a couple of days under night but due to unavoidable circumstances it was decided to have only one day," a source in the BCCI informed the paper.
The decision to play the pink-ball Test was largely influenced by Ganguly himself as he had been in charge of the Cricket Association of Bengal [CAB], when the first pink-ball game in India — a Super League final between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore was played at the Eden Gardens in June 2016.
While the swing, seam of the balls remain a concern, the most amount of concern has been generated regarding dew during that time of the month but Ganguly assured steps will be taken to ensure dew doesn't affect the game badly.
"We will make sure there’s no dew. After all day/night one-dayers are played here. There’s this dew treatment spray and all. Nothing will happen,” he said. “Test cricket needs this push. Thanks to Virat (Kohli) also, he agreed straight away. And even more to Bangladesh Cricket Board that they agreed at such a short notice. It’s a good way forward," Ganguly said.