Pink balls hand stitched to aid reverse swing, but is that cricket?

New Delhi: The amount of reverse swing that the SG pink ball will aid has been a burning question ever since it was announced that India will play its maiden Day-Night Test against Bangladesh at the historic Eden Gardens from November 22.

The likes of Mohammed Shami are known to use the reverse swing as one of their most potent weapons and the pink balls for the Day-Night Test have been prepared keeping that in mind.

A BCCI official said that the seams in the pink balls have been hand stitched to ensure that the ball aids reverse swing. For those unaware, the pink ball aids conventional swing more than it reverses because of the extra lacquer used to make sure that the ball is easy to spot even under lights.

The spotting has been a major area of concern with the pink ball, especially in the Twilight phase. The pink ball takes around 7-8 days to make and it starts with the preparation of the pink-dyed leather.

Once the leather is ready, they are cut into pieces which shall later become the covering of the ball. The leather is most importantly softened overnight to ensure that it is not too hard and can be easily wrapped around the cork later.

After this, the cups are stitched from the leather cuttings and are once again coloured. Once the leathers are ready, the cork is inserted and that is followed by stitching them up. The inner stitching takes place first and the ball is then stitched from the outside.

Once the main formation is complete, the final layer of colouring and shining is done before the ball is finally weighed and dispatched. The pink ball is heavier than the conventional red ball.

The Indian as well as the Bangladesh players were handed the SG pink balls in Indore during the first Test and with the opening game ending inside three days, the players from both teams took the opportunity to practice under lights.

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