Sachin Tendulkar believes the introduction of day-night Tests in India is a “good move”, except if the dew becomes a factor as it will create “challenging” conditions for both seamers and spinners. Eden Gardens is gearing up to host the first day-night Test in India starting November 22 against Bangladesh, after the BCB agreed to the BCCI’s request of playing the second match of the Test series under lights.
“As long as dew does not become a factor, it is a good move,” Tendulkar told PTI. “But if dew is going to be a factor, then seamers as well as spinners are going to find it challenging because once the ball gets wet, neither seamers can do much nor the spinners. So, in that way, bowlers will be put under the test. But if there is no dew, then surely it is a good addition.”
With the match taking place at the end of November, dew is expected to affect the outfield after sunset which could, as Tendulkar said, favour the batsmen. Paras Anand, marketing director at SG, which is going to supply the pink balls for the Test, had also said the dew factor remained the biggest challenge for them.
“I think the dew factor will play a big role over here,” Tendulkar said. “We need to figure out how much dew is there. The dew will determine to what extent both teams are competing. The conditions shouldn’t hinder anything (competitiveness).”
The timings of the match, which the BCCI is yet to announce, will help fans increase the attendance as they can now head to the stadium in the evening.
“It is a nice concept, as people would be able to watch a day-night Test after their working hours,” Tendulkar said. “People can come in the evening and enjoy the game. From players’ point of view, it won’t be a bad idea to play with the pink ball and check how differently it behaves from the traditional red ball.”
“The India boys should also depend on word-of-mouth feedback from all those who played Duleep Trophy and they would have few things to share.”
– Sachin Tendulkar
The pink ball has been criticised in the past for not having as pronounced a seam and also getting scuffed up or losing its colour sooner than the red ball. Tendulkar advised that to ensure appropriate preparedness against the pink ball, India’s batsmen should face in the nets adequate number of deliveries that simulate the nature of the pink ball at various stages of the innings.
“The batsmen will need to practice with different balls at the nets,” he said. “A new pink ball, a 20-over pink ball and a 50-over pink ball and an 80-over ball. See how differently a new, semi-new and old ball behaves. Accordingly, prepare your strategy.”
In addition, Tendulkar emphasised that relying on the first-hand experience of players who have played the Duleep Trophy with the pink ball could go some way towards equipping the home team to tackle the pink ball efficiently.
“The India boys should also depend on word of mouth feedback from all those who played Duleep Trophy [with the pink ball] and they would have few things to share,” Tendulkar said.
Although pitches for day-night Tests have usually had more grass on them compared to those used in day matches to help retain the condition of the pink ball, Tendulkar believes a deeper tinge of green on the surface at Eden Gardens will not entirely negate the efficacy of skilled spinners.
“Obviously, it (the presence of more grass) will help the seamers more, but if you bring in [a] quality spinner, he will find his way to bowl on that surface as well,” Tendulkar said. “For a spinner, it will be important to assess how much bounce is there on the surface and how much the ball is skidding; if there is too much grass [or] whether the ball is gripping on the surface.”
A better part of assessing the behaviour of the pink ball on the Eden surface will depend on local wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who had played the first pink-ball match in India on the same ground: the Super League final between club teams Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore in 2016. The only difference is that match was played with the pink Kookaburra.
“The wicketkeeper will play a massive role in providing feedback as to whether the ball is skidding or whether it is not coming onto the bat easily,” Tendulkar said.