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Not easy to pick short ball: Cheteshwar Pujara on batsmen getting hit

Cheteshwar Pujara, Pujara day night test match, India Bangladesh test match, Ind ban pink ball test, Virat Kohli bangladesh century, indian express news, cricket news
Cheteshwar Pujara, Pujara day night test match, India Bangladesh test match, Ind ban pink ball test, Virat Kohli bangladesh century, indian express news, cricket news India’s Cheteswar Pujara avoids a rising delivery during the first day of the second test match between India and Bangladesh in Kolkata, India, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

The visibility of the pink ball under lights is an issue and this could be a reason why so many (Bangladesh) batsmen got hit in the ongoing second Test at Eden Gardens, Cheteshwar Pujara observed.

Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan retired hurt on the first day. Both were hit on the helmet by bouncers from Mohammed Shami and subsequently failed the concussion test.

On the second day, as Bangladesh came out for their second innings, they nearly had another concussion victim. Mohammad Mithun had survived a very close leg-before shout on umpire’s call.

Ishant Sharma’s response was a nasty bouncer that thudded into the helmet grille. Mithun looked shaken. But after the on-field treatment he carried on. At this point the visitors were in danger of running out of concussion substitutes.

During the final session of the day’s play, Mushfiqur Rahim, the most assured of the Bangladesh batsman, was hit by an Umesh Yadav bouncer.

So many batsmen getting hit in a Test match, on a pretty decent pitch, bordered on the uncommon. Bangladesh didn’t have fast bowlers to pose physical threats to Indian batsmen, but during India’s innings also, some of the deliveries rose awkwardly off a length. One such delivery had accounted for Pujara yesterday.

Today, after the day’s play, the batsman was asked if the blows were down to poor technique or visibility.

Pujara spoke about the visibility factor. “I thought light and pink ball had a role to play. As a batsman, it’s not easy to pick short balls especially. The pace our fast bowlers have, it’s not easy. Their batters haven’t even played any first-class match with the pink ball so it’s not easy,” Pujara, who scored a half-century in the first innings, replied.

According to him, in day-night Test, first and third sessions are relatively easier for batting.

“Batting under lights was difficult when I batted yesterday. Even when I saw on TV, the first session is easier to bat as there is no lights. When there is light, the ball starts swinging a little more. (Then) once dew comes in, batting again becomes easier.”

He is one player in the team who came to India’s first day-night Test with the previous experience of playing pink-ball, first-class cricket, thanks to his participation in the Duleep Trophy. And like he said, India scored 115 runs for the loss of Ajinkya Rahane’s wicket in the first session on Day Two.

Post-lunch they lost five wickets in quick succession.

Like his captain Virat Kohli, Pujara, too, is open to playing day-night Tests overseas, with proper practice games in the lead-up.

“It’s the BCCI’s decision to make. But going forward, if we are going to play more pink-ball games, we will have to practice more under lights and start getting used to this. It’s not my call so I can’t say much.”

Then again, as Pujara said, it might not be practical to play a day-night practice match during an overseas tour.

“If we are playing away from home, you don’t have much time as you play only one of the four matches with the pink ball. You don’t want to have a practice game with the pink ball. You would rather have it with the red ball. You never play a practice game in between the series, so I don’t think it’s practical,” Pujara said.