Quality, supply of pink balls a concern for BCCI

NEW DELHI: The buzz around India hosting Bangladesh for their first day-night Test at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 22 is growing but the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has some logistical issues to sort out first. The biggest concern is over arranging quality pink balls that will work in Indian conditions.

In 2016, the board’s technical committee, under the chairmanship of incumbent BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, had decided to run a pilot project with Duleep Trophy being played with pink balls. That experiment was not very encouraging.

The board started with SG balls and subsequently tried out the Dukes ball. The major concern was that the balls started losing their colour and tended to get soft after the first 20 overs. “The Indian grounds are not as soft as the ones in England or Australia. They are rough and the balls didn’t retain shape and colour after 20-30 overs,” a top BCCI official told TOI.

SG, which faced criticism for the quality of its red balls last year, was asked to come up with better quality of pink balls for this year’s Duleep Trophy. However, the BCCI took a U-turn and conducted the tournament with traditional red balls. While the official reason given was lack of interest of broadcasters to telecast games, sources said wet conditions in early September were a deterrent. The final was to be played with pink balls but the board decided against it. BCCI GM (cricket ops) Saba Karim didn’t respond to TOI’s queries.

The board is unsure about the quality of SG balls. In this scenario, if the day-night Test is given a go-ahead, importing pink balls – Dukes or Kookaburra – is an option. It will need a decent ‘library’ of balls.

“The board will need over 24 new balls at least to give to the teams for practice and play the match. Then there’s the need to have a library where you have replaceable balls at any point. That’s the tough part,” the official said.

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