Second India A- New Zealand A Test to be played with pink ball
What's the story?
The concept of pink-ball cricket has been gaining steam recently, with the BCCI deciding to try it out in the ongoing Duleep Trophy. In what will be a boost to the innovative format of the game, the second unofficial Test between India A and New Zealand A will also be played with the pink ball.
However, the lack of floodlights at the Dr. Gokaraju Liala Gangaaraju ACA Cricket Ground means that the game will be played during the day.
In case you didn't know...
The pink ball was first used in India in the Duleep Trophy last year, and after seeing some success, it has been implemented this time around as well. In the opening match of the 2017 Duleep Trophy, which was a day-night encounter, the pink ball was used and it received positive reviews.
Interestingly, 10 out of the 14 members present in the India A squad were also a part of that Duleep Trophy encounter.
Coming to the series in question, the first unofficial Test was won by India A, who completely outclassed the visitors, trouncing them by an innings and 31 runs. New Zealand A though will feel that the pink ball could level the playing field somewhat as they look to hit back.
The heart of the matter
The BCCI, after consulting with New Zealand's cricket board, decided to go ahead with the proposed pink-ball Test. The move received backing from the New Zealand board, who feel that their cricketers should get some exposure against top-quality opposition ahead of their home summer, where the Eden Park in Auckland is set to host a day-night pink-ball Test against England in March.
Many members of the current New Zealand A squad could make the first-team come March and hence this is the ideal opportunity for them to get acclimatised to the way the pink ball behaves.
New Zealand did play a day-night Test previously, against Australia in 2015, and although additional matches were planned for the Plunkett Shield, several obstacles meant the idea never came to fruition.
India A will host New Zealand A in the second and final unofficial Test at the Dr. Gokaraju Liala Gangaaraju ACA Cricket Ground on September 30th. Following the Test, the two teams will face off in a five-match one-day series.
Innovation is necessary to maintain fans' interest in the game and the decision to conduct a pink-ball Test is a welcome one by the BCCI. While it is disappointing that the game cannot take place at night, it should still be interesting to watch how the two teams adapt to the conditions on offer.