May 18, 2018 / 9:28 AM / 4 days ago

India's pink-ball shyness leave Harbhajan perplexed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s reluctance to play a day-night test on their next tour of Australia has surprised spinner Harbhajan Singh, who remains convinced that Virat Kohli’s team are skilled enough to conquer the challenges of pink-ball cricket.

FILE PHOTO: India's Harbhajan Singh (R) and Amit Mishra attend a practice session ahead of their first Twenty-20 cricket match against South Africa in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala, India, October 1, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

India have shot down a proposal to play what could have been their maiden day-night test in Adelaide in December, worried that their inexperience in the conditions could hamper their bid for a rare series win in Australia.

“I don’t know why they don’t want to play day-night test matches,” Harbhajan, India’s third highest wicket-taker in test cricket, told reporters.

“It’s an interesting format and we should try it. I am all for it. Tell me what’s the apprehension of playing with pink ball? If you play, you can adjust. It may not be as difficult as it seems.”

Indian board officials have gone on record as saying they would back anything that gave Kohli’s team their best chance of winning the four-match series against Australia, who have won all four day-night tests they have hosted.

Australia’s former test batsman Mark Waugh has called it a “selfish” decision by the Indian board which also hindered efforts to reinvigorate test cricket.

Harbhajan felt the board may have underestimated the skills of their own players.

“We have fast bowlers to trouble them. And what makes us think our batsmen can’t take up the challenge of facing Aussie pacers?” asked the 37-year-old, who played the last of his 103 tests in 2015.

“It’s a challenge, and what’s the harm in taking up the challenge? When we were new to test cricket, we had only learnt how to bowl with the SG test ball and then slowly learnt to bowl with Kookaburra and Dukes.

“Don’t you accept the challenge of playing England in overcast conditions in their country? Isn’t that a challenge? If we could take up that challenge why not pink-ball cricket?”

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien

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