As India gear up to play their maiden Day-Night Test, one batsman who in particular is looking forward to playing under lights is Cheteshwar Pujara. In an interview with PTI, Pujara, 31, said the team is psyched to bat against the pink ball although he is aware of the challenges it will pose.
The pink ball is something not too many Indian players have the experience of playing against. Sachin Tendulkar, the former India batsman, had pointed out it will be interesting to see how the pink ball behaves once dew settles in. Pujara, one of the few players who actually has faced the pink ball three years ago during Duleep Trophy has weighed in on the possible tests it may throw at the batsmen towards the fag end of the day.
“It’s going to be exciting… What we played was a first-class match, this is going to be a Test match. I’m sure all the players are excited about it. In the twilight period, I feel that maybe, sighting the ball could be a little challenging. (But) the more you play, you get used to it. It’s always about experience and knowing how the ball is behaving,” Pujara said.
“The more we play, the more we gain experience of how to tackle the ball. Every ball has its challenges. I don’t think it will require a huge change to shift from red ball to pink ball. The reason is it’s the same format. We are still playing a five-day match.
“Under lights, it will be different. But it’s about getting used to the pink ball. That’s what I feel. Rest, I don’t think will be a major difference. Once we play some Test matches, we will be able to know the exact difference and can improvise.”
The Day-Night Test was a breakthrough move by the newly-appointed BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, who has also convinced Bangladesh to play with the pink ball in the second Test at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens. Neither India nor Bangladesh have played with the pink ball before although most of the players from the current Indian squad have played a Day-Night Test in the Duleep Trophy over the years. But even for those who haven’t, Pujara isn’t too worried.
“We won’t have any issue. Most of the guys have played in Duleep Trophy and for the ones who have not played, it would be a good learning curve for them,” he said. “The help for the bowlers could come at a different times unlike the traditional Tests. It could be under lights or without lights. Once we play, we will get to know about all such things. We will have to adapt to it as quickly as possible.
The first-ever Day-Night international Test was played between Australia and New Zealand in 2015 but it’s taken India over four years to feature in their Tests. While many, including Ganguly believe that D/N Tests are indeed the road ahead, Pujara feels it’s too early to come to any concrete solution.
“It’s too early to say. Once I’ve some experience I will be able to say,” he said. “Pink ball or not, the format still remains the same. We would want to win as many matches as possible because points are at stake. Whether it’s red ball or pink ball, ultimately you have to play well and win the game.”
India are leading the World Test Championships with 240 points, having won all their five matches so far and Pujara feels the kind of form openers Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal are displaying, gives them a great change to continue the rampage. Rohit scored 529 runs in three Tests against South Africa and Agarwal racked up 340 runs from four innings.
“It’s a big bonus for us that Mayank and Rohit both are scoring runs,” Pujara said We want them to keep scoring runs. Our batting line-up also becomes strong. If the openers are giving good starts, then the No.3, 4 and 5 have that luxury to bat accordingly. You don’t have to put pressure on yourself and at the same time you have to keep working on your game, keep getting better.”