Spinners won’t become redundant in pink-ball cricket: Vettori

Vettori believes spinners can still play a role with the pink ball. © BCB

Bangladesh’s spin bowling coach Daniel Vettori believes that though pacers are in the spotlight for the upcoming pink ball Test match, the spinners will also have a role to play in the day-night game. Bangladesh are trailing 0-1 in the ongoing two-match Test series and will take on India in the maiden day-night Test match for both sides, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata from November 22.

“Spinners can still play a big part in pink ball Test,” Vettori told reporters after their first practice session in Kolkata. “It’s slightly different here because of the early sunset. So, a significant part of the match will be played under normal conditions. So, spinners won’t become redundant in pink ball Test matches. We haven’t done anything differently,” he said.

“The spinners haven’t come into play that much if I recall correctly (from seeing previous pink-ball Tests). It has been the seamers. But I still think the spin bowlers play a big part in the nature of the game. So the first two sessions, spinners could really be important. In majority of Test matches spinners are required at some time of the game.

“I don’t think it is a case of overseas spinners coming here and looking to dominate, do your role as you would back home. It is more about the economy rate [for spinners] taking 2/60 or 2/70 in the first innings and trying to see what the second innings presents you. That’s the right way to go about it,” the former New Zealand captain added.

According to Vettori, play during the twilight hours of the day can have an impact on the Test match as he feels that teams will come up with new tactical ploys for those periods. “The pink ball plays relatively normal at this time of the day. The challenge will be how much of the Test match is under lights. The sun sets quite early here. That will be the time we will see the pink ball come into play,” said Vettori.

“My experiences are only from watching on TV. So the twilight hours, dusk seems to do a little bit more. So I think that’s going to be the exciting period of the Test match. That will be the period where tactically teams might try out a few different things. Visibility is fine [during the twilight hour]. I think the only anecdotal conversations I have heard is that it has been a little bit hard to pick up at square-leg and those areas. I haven’t experienced them myself, that’s what I have heard. That will be interesting to find out if the slips are picking it, gully, the umpires. They say there is a small halo effect the ball has,” he noted.

The tourists seemed to have gone into their shell after the loss in the opening Test inside three days and that translated during their practice session in Indore, where too much emphasis was paid on trying to analyze the modus operandi of the pink balls. In Indore, the batsmen were too cautious in the nets while the bowlers looked to be working on how to cope with the new ball that is expected to have lateral movement. However, at Eden Gardens, both the batsmen and the bowlers seem to have come to terms with the behaviour of the pink ball.

The batsmen looked to have gradually developed their footwork against the pink ball and played shots freely. Head coach Russell Domingo too spent a lot of time trying to make the batsmen understand that they need to play the dead defense instead of keeping their body weight on the back trying to defend the ball as that will have more chances of picking up an edge. The pace department was lot more lively in the nets and that, according to Vettori, was an uncommon but pleasant sight for him.

“The four fast bowlers are excited. That’s a nice thing. Bangladesh fast bowlers don’t get to be excited too often. I think they are coming to grips with the ball. The SG pink ball is slightly different. Most guys’ limited experience has been around the Kookaburra one. But I think there is excitement around it.

“The seamers did a great job in the last Test so they will come to the fore. The re-laid wicket here has more bounce. It was watered today and is now covered. The seamers, because of the pink ball and under lights, will play a big part in this Test match,” he said, adding that the bowlers will only know how they have coped with pink ball once they have a full session under lights in the match.

“We have had only one session when it’s dark so they haven’t really experienced night time. Tomorrow we will get to experience that. So far so good, as the pink ball behaves so normally at this time of the day,” he concluded.


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