The SG pink ball made its debut when India and Bangladesh played their maiden day-night Test at Eden Gardens last week in Kolkata.
Virat Kohli-led India beat the opponent by an innings and 46 runs inside three days.
The new pink ball wobbled a lot more than the regular red ball, and the sight of Bangladesh players getting hit on the head raised questions about its visibility. India No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara said, “It is a little challenging for the batsmen under lights.”
However, Paras Anand, marketing director at SG, reckons the colour of the ball isn’t a ‘big’ issue. “The ball’s got a very bright, pink colour which means it’s visible under lights. We even examined the balls that were used during the match and noticed that they didn’t exactly get dusty,” Anand said.
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“I get where Pujara is coming from: the pink ball will take getting used to; maybe more game time and net sessions will help the players adapt to it,” he added.
The SG ball drew flak last year during the home series against the West Indies when India captain Virat Kohli said the red ball gets scuffed up too early. However, Anand said SG has since worked extensively on the leather.
“The pink SG is the same as the red SG ball. Last year the players had given us feedback that the SG balls were getting too soft, so we tweaked the core a bit to make the ball harder,” he said.
“In Kolkata, it had to do more with the grass on the wicket than the colour of the ball. You need a little bit of grass to maintain the colour… if there’s grass on the wicket, it’ll help the seamers. Indore, too, wasn’t a traditional Indian pitch and you could see just how effective our fast bowlers were. That said, Ravichandran Ashwin was equally effective. Yet the fast bowlers picked 15 wickets between them (in Indore) because the conditions were conducive to pacers.”
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During India’s first innings in Kolkata, three balls were used — two new balls and a replacement ball. Though the first ball went out of shape in the 59th over, Anand maintains the feedback was largely positive. “We were there in Kolkata and it was nice to see the fast bowlers pick wickets and batsmen score so many runs with the pink ball,” he said.
“However, we are yet to receive official feedback from the BCCI. The process usually takes two to three weeks but if there’s a pressing concern, then they contact us immediately. There’s always scope for improvement and we will make necessary adjustments if and when required.”
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