At the iconic Eden Gardens, wrist spinners landing the pink ball with scrambled seam will be far more difficult to pick than finger spinners, feels the veteran off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh. India will be playing its much-awaited first Day/Night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens from Saturday and there is a lot of curiosity regarding how the pink ball would behave.
India has Kuldeep Yadav in the squad, Bhajji refrained from commenting on selections matters. He said, “Wrist spinners will have one advantage if you see because it’s going to be very difficult to pick the seam (with black stitches) of the pink ball. Well, that’s the team management’s call and I can’t comment. But then Bangladesh needs to play the Indian pacers on the seamer-friendly track before spinners are fully operational.”
He further added, “And also between 3.30 and 4.30 pm, the time of sunset in Kolkata where seamers are known to do maximum damage. But yes we need to figure out more about spinners if we want to play more D/N Tests in the future. When a finger spinner bowls, the ball is released with a seam so that there is turn and bounce. When you are bowling the googly, the seam will be scrambled and very difficult to pick.”
However, Harbhajan also feels that someone like a Muttiah Muralitharan might just be very effective. However, generally, the pink SG ball will be a challenge for the spinners with the extra lacquer that will be applied to keep its color intact under lights.
Talking about the same, Harbhajan said, “More lacquer means that you will not have a good grip on the ball, especially finger spinners. With extra lacquer, the pink ball’s skin won’t get wet but the stitches will be very soggy. In 50 overs or 20 over cricket, whenever the ball gets wet, you can just alter the length a bit and let the batsmen play on backfoot getting those singles. But in a Test match, you will not have a field setting like that.”
Harbhajan also explained that for spinners to be more effective, they have to play more games at the domestic level.
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Bhajji concluded, “If BCCI creates a window so that all top national players are available for a couple of specific rounds in Ranji Trophy, then you can learn more. Even Duleep can go back to the pink ball but only if stars play. With no disrespect to any player, if top players don’t play here, the purpose is lost and no advantage gained while playing the next pink Test.”