Pink ball to make Bangladesh debut
The pink ball will make its Bangladeshi debut when the Bangladesh Cricket League final begins on Friday. The BCB's decision to experiment with the ball will be, quite literally, under the spotlight, as the first-class match between Central Zone and North Zone is a day-night fixture - another first for the country - at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Both teams, however, have been given very little time to get acquainted with the ball, as they were each given a set of three pink balls to train with on the eve of the match.
The initial report after the centre-wicket net session from both teams has been cautiously encouraging. Central Zone's Marshall Ayub, who is the tournament's leading run-scorer, was wary of how much the ball would swing, but said he had no trouble sighting the ball.
"The ball moved sideways, so I think how much it swings tomorrow will be in the back of everyone's mind," Marshall said. "Everyone is talking about the pink ball in the dressing room, but I have done some catching and fielding. It seemed visible enough under artificial lights."
North Zone batsman Farhad Hossain found it quite easy to deal with the new pink ball, though he believed what happens in a competitive match will be far more important. "We played with a new ball mostly, so wear and tear wasn't an issue," Farhad said. "I think we have to find out what happens tomorrow when the ball gets old. So far I think it has been okay sighting the ball. I also found it easy catching the ball, even though one of the light towers wasn't used.
"It is a very different experience for us, but we want to see how it goes tomorrow. The only issue [is] it becoming discoloured [as it gets older], [which may] trouble the batsman because the ball will [need to] be changed. A newer ball under lights can swing around."
The BCB have set aside 30 balls for the five-day match as a precautionary measure, after concerns about its longevity had been raised. A domestic match in South Africa held in September last year was the last occasion when a pink ball was used in a competitive match. But concerns over its ability to hold colour, especially given how easily the sheen goes away, remained. It had to be changed roughly every 25 overs during the match
The other hurdle for many of the players will be to switch between the formats in such a short space of time. The BPL final was on February 19, ending four weeks of continuous Twenty20 cricket, and three days later it is a first-class final. But Marshall said it is hardly an issue. "I think we will manage between the formats quite well."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent