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Pink Ball Report Card: How India Test players have fared in domestic matches

Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara have fared the best among Indian batsmen when playing pink-ball cricket. Among bowlers, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Shami have enjoyed the pink ball the most.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: November 17, 2019 8:41:49 pm
Day-night Test, Day-night Test news, Day-night Test updates, Pink ball Test, Amitabh Chaudhary, sports news, cricket, Indian Express The first Day/Night Test in India – to be played against Bangladesh with the pink ball – will begin in Kolkata from November 22 (Express File Photo)

When it was announced that India’s upcoming series against Bangladesh would include the first pink-ball Test on Indian soil last month, more than a few feathers would have been ruffled. After all, India’s opposition to the pink ball has been well chronicled and India and Bangladesh are the only top-10 cricket nations to not have played a Day/Night Test with the pink ball so far.

India have dominated Test cricket over the last couple of years, but the Kolkata Test – which is set to begin from November 22 – will be a fresh challenge for the Test Championship leaders.

Of the fifteen players in the India Test squad, five players have no experience of top-level pink-ball cricket. They are Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Shubman Gill.

Also Read | What is cricket’s pink ball challenge about?

The other ten players in the squad, however, have prior experience of playing pink-ball cricket in India. While most have gained experience in the format in the Duleep Trophy, where the pink ball was given a trial for three seasons, the two Bengal players in the side were part of a trial pink-ball match at the Eden Gardens in 2016.

Batsmen

Mayank Agarwal – With scores of 92, 161, 58, 57, 52 over five innings, the Karnataka batsman has not put a foot wrong when faced with a pink ball. Playing in the 2016/17 Duleep Trophy for the India Blue team, Agarwal scored 420 runs in the tournament at a colossal average of 84. The 161 he had scored had also been his highest first class score at the time.

Cheteshwar Pujara – Pujara is the first Indian to score a double ton in pink-ball cricket. Playing in the 2016/17 Duleep Trophy final, he scored an unbeaten 256 for India Blue. In the two previous innings he had played in the tournament, he had scores of 166 and 31.

Rohit Sharma – Rohit Sharma had also been part of the inaugural pink-ball tournament in India – the 2016/17 Duleep Trophy – but he had only played in the final as he had been with the India team during the group stage. He scored 30 and 32* in the two innings as his team won handsomely. Rohit and Mayank will be looking to continue their success as opening pair in the upcoming series and their showings against the pink ball suggest they will back themselves to do so.

Also Read | Pink is the new red

Hanuma Vihari – Vihari played in the 2017/18 Duleep Trophy. He got only one opportunity to bat, in a league match for India Blue, as an opener. His performance was commendable though, as he scored 105 to help his team take the first innings lead.

Rishabh Pant – India’s wicketkeepers do not have the best track record when it comes to batting in pink-ball cricket. Pant played two league matches in the 2017/18 Duleep Trophy and registered a batting average of 24. He had scores of 11, 15 and a 23-ball 46 to show from the tournament.

Wriddhiman Saha – The 2016 CAB Super League final between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore, which was also hosted at the Eden Gardens, featured Saha and pacer Mohammed Shami. While Shami prospered, Saha failed to make a mark. He did manage a fighting 33 in the first innings but was dismissed for a golden duck in his second essay.

Bowlers

Ravindra Jadeja – Jadeja was also part of the 2016/17 Duleep Trophy, and like Rohit Sharma, he also played only the final as he was with the India team during the group stage. Jadeja has the honour of being the first Indian to take a 10-wicket match haul with the pink ball. In the final of the tournament, he had scores of 48 and 17 with the bat and figures of 5/95 and 5/76 with the ball.

Kuldeep Yadav – India might not play more than two spinners in the Day/Night Test, considering that dew is being anticipated to play a big role, but Kuldeep Yadav is possibly the most experienced bowler with the pink ball among Indians. He played all three matches for India Red in the 2016/17 Duleep Trophy, taking 17 wickets at an average of 27.88. He was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament. His figures were 3/32, 6/88, 4/78, 1/214 and 3/62.

Also Read | Pink ball makes successful debut in India

Mohammed Shami – ‘Second innings Shami’ had a change of fortune with the pink ball. Playing the 2016 CAB Super League final for Mohun Bagan, the same match where Wriddhiman Saha failed to make a mark, Shami took a fifer in the first innings and took two wickets in the second innings. Shami was named the Player of the Match.

Ishant Sharma – Ishant Sharma has been the reliable presence in the India Test side over the past few years, but his pink-ball credentials are nothing to write home about. Playing two matches in the 2017/18 Duleep Trophy, Ishant had figures of 1/15, 0/62 and 0/14.

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