Abhijit Bhattacharya, who along with Premdip Chatterjee was one of the two umpires who presided over the first pink-ball Test played in the country- the four-day affair between Mohun Bagan and Bhawanipore in the 2016 final of the CAB Super League at Eden Gardens.
“I went into the game with an open mind,” Bhattacharya told TOI, recalling that sultry Mayday. “For me, it was just about a different color. How different could it be from the red or white ball?”
It was different, as Bhattacharya found out. The ball bounced more and traveled better than the red ball, but not as much as the white one. “I would say that the behavior of the pink ball was closer to that of the white ball… There wasn’t too much difference,” Bhattacharya opined.
During every interval, the organizers checked with the umpires about the pink ball. “We were watching it from very close quarters, so our inputs were very important.”
The match was played with the Kookaburra ball, which has a wider and flatter seam than the SG ball. The same ball was used in Duleep Trophy later that season and a few players complained that the seam lost its prominence as the innings progressed. With SG balls set to be used during the D/N Test, that may not happen.
Bhattacharya was quite happy with the pink ball. “As there was no marked change in its shape, we didn’t have to change the ball. It retained quite a bit of its characteristics. There was a fair amount of movement early on, but later it became easy.
Mohammed Shami extracted some reverse swing too,” he recalled.”The players were sighting the ball better under lights and no one complained of any problem during the twilight zone,” added the umpire, who managed to keep a pink ball used in that game as a souvenir.
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