Great Lateral Movement, To Play To The End Of The Rahane Proposed D'the Beginning Of The Pink Ball-Assessment > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Big lateral movement, need to play late - Rahane's early pink ball assessment
There's 10 days - and an entire Test match - to go before India take a plunge into the relatively unknown territory (to them) of Test cricket under lights, but the talk of dealing with and mastering the pink ball dominated Ajinkya Rahane's press conference two days ahead of the Indore fixture.
The pink ball Test has occupied so much of India's thinking that it spilled into their practice session on Tuesday in Indore, when some of the top-order batsmen - including Virat Kohli - took throwdowns with the pink ball.
This could be down to India's hasty acceptance to partake in such a game - almost an overnight decision coming right after Sourav Ganguly assumed BCCI office. This, after India rejected Cricket Australia's proposal of a Boxing Day pink ball spectacle only last year on the account of lack of time to get acclimatized to it.
On their part, some of India's Test regulars, Rahane included, managed to squeeze in sessions with the pink ball at the NCA in Bengaluru over the last weekend, in order to at least be aware of how it might behave - both during the day and under lights - and what basic adjustments batsmen will have to make to their technique.
"I think regarding NCA, we had two good practice sessions, actually three or four but two with pink ball - one during the day and one under lights. It was actually exciting. For me it was the first time I played with a pink ball and definitely it's a different ball game as compared to red ball," Rahane said.
Even for players like Mohammed Shami and Wriddhiman Saha, who featured in the 2016 Duleep Trophy that was played with the pink ball, the upcoming assignment will bring no feeling of familiarity.
The domestic tournament that was played under lights for three seasons - in 2016, 2017 and 2018 - used the kookaburra pink ball, which is distinctly different from the SG pink ball. It must also be said that the kookaburra pink ball received widespread negative reviews from the players, with complaints of it losing shape quickly, not doing much for the spinners and aiding the batsmen after going soft.
The biggest takeaway, per Rahane following the sessions with the pink ball at the NCA, was the need for batsmen to play slightly late and much closer to the body, as they kept an observant eye on how the ball behaved as far as swing and seam movement was concerned. The No.5 batsman also believed a level of mental adjustment to the unknown should bring success for the Indian players.
"I didn't play pink ball [before] so this is my first experience. The lateral movement is big, actually a lot more than the red ball. I'm sure we'll get two good practice sessions in Kolkata. Adjustment wise I'm sure everyone will adjust very quickly. It's just the mindset, technical skills will play a role. Mentally if you can adjust to the pink ball, then it'll be good."
The unfamiliarity with the pink SG ball gives rise to another grey area - about what could happen with the onset of dew under lights. Playing in the month of November, dew is most likely to make its presence felt, but it is still not known in what manner it will impact the pink ball. Rahane, who's had just one session under lights so far, expects to have at least one more in Kolkata to figure it out.
"Generally when dew comes into play, it becomes easy for the batsman. But I don't know about the pink SG ball how it goes on to play when dew comes in. We'll have to wait and see. I'm sure we'll get one evening practice session in Kolkata. We'll get an idea of when the dew comes in how the ball will behave," Rahane said.
But before India get into the nitty gritty of the workings of the pink ball, they need to train their focus back on the Day game in Indore - starting from November 14 - where there's another 60 points for the taking to add to their galloping lead in the World Test Championship points table.
"We had to practice with the pink ball because we were not playing T20s or any other format. What we decided was to go and spend time at the NCA and if we can get pink ball session, it'll be great. For bowlers it's a different thing. Shami was there, Jadeja was there. We decided that we'll have at least two sessions with the pink ball. But as I said, it's not difficult to stay in the present. [Our] focus is on the Indore Test match first," Rahane said.
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