Rahane’s pink ball lessons: Does more than red ball, need to play late

Ajinkya Rahane,Indian Cricket Player,Virat Kohli,Day-Night Test,India vs Bangladesh

The pink ball is going to be a very “different ball game”, India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane asserted on Tuesday, saying its extra lateral movement compared to the red cherry will force batsmen to play late and closer to their bodies.

Rahane, along with Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja, had a couple of practice sessions with the pink ball under the watchful eyes of National Cricket Academy (NCA) Director Rahul Dravid in Bengaluru building up to the historic Day/Night Test against Bangladesh starting November 22.

“We had two good practice sessions, actually four but two with pink ball one during the day and one under lights. It was actually exciting,” Rahane said ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh starting on Thursday.

“For me, it was the first time I played with the pink ball and definitely it’s a different ball game as compared to red ball. Our focus was to look into the swing and seam movement and also play close to our body,” Virat Kohli’s deputy observed.

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Rahane’s assessment after his initial sessions was that the batsmen will have to tweak their technique slightly.

“What we found out after the practice session was that the (new) pink ball does a lot more than the red ball. You have to play slightly late and close to your body. We had a word with Rahul bhai as he was also there.”

During the couple of Duleep Trophy seasons with the pink ball, there were complaints about spinners going out of equation.

“I think they played with the Kookaburra ball in Duleep trophy, that’s a different thing. With the SG ball, I am not so sure. We played against spinners in Bangalore and they were getting good revs (revolutions) on the ball. Yes, the shine is completely different to red ball but it’s very hard to compare with SG ball and the kookaburra ball,” he explained.

Rahane conceded that he is starting afresh with no reference point.

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“I’ve never played with the pink ball. And what I’ve heard from other people is that the kookaburra ball is actually really easy for the batsmen. But what we saw in Bangalore is that the SG ball was doing a bit for the fast bowlers.

“For spinners, it is difficult but it is very hard for me to say right now about kookaburra and SG ball.”

The 31-year-old feels that the primary objective would be to adjust to the pink ball “mentally” and hope for things to fall in place after that.

“I’m sure we’ll get two good practice sessions in Kolkata. I’m sure everyone will adjust very quickly. We are used to playing different formats after T20s we play Tests.

“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,” he said.

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