A day-night first class match with a pink ball awaits India Red and India Green as the Duleep Trophy gets a swanky new makeover from Tuesday. India's domestic season gets underway with a match that will have plenty of new innovations with a pinch of the old guard, led by Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina.
A trophy which was ignored last year makes its return in 2016, with the BCCI hoping that scheduling the tournament under lights with the pink ball will garner some interest. The fact that India Red and India Green will be captained by Yuvraj and Raina respectively also helps.
"I think it is pretty exciting and something to look forward to," Yuvraj was quoted as saying by BCCI's official website. "The New Zealand-Australia Test match (the first day-night Test to be played with a pink ball) I saw was pretty exciting.
"The ball was swinging a bit much. It will be challenging if it swings a lot while playing under lights. I am just looking forward for the excitement."
Yuvraj is not a great exponent of playing swing bowling, but if he can make an impact in this match, considering the amount of cricket India are going to play over the next few months, it could be a great way of finding his place back in the national team.
Raina, another left-hander with a suspect technique, will be thinking along the same lines as well, making this contest between India Red and India Green a little more intriguing – there is also Harbhajan Singh in the squad, along with plenty of India hopefuls and established players, including Jasprit Bumrah, who will want to make a case for himself to be considered for the Test team.
"It will be a great contest," Raina said. "For the first time we will be playing for 90 overs in a day-night match. We look forward to enjoying the next four days.
"The Duleep Trophy has not been played with the pink ball before and it's a good challenge. All the boys are keen and this is a good platform ahead of the season."
This Duleep Trophy match will also be played at a relatively new ground in Shahid Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida, and while Raina has experienced Ranji Trophy cricket in the day at this venue, he is expecting different challenges for this four-day pink ball match.
"I have played a 9 a.m. Ranji Trophy match here," Raina added. "The facilities here are very good. Let's see how it feels under lights here. When we practice we will get an idea of how things are here.
"Now there will be dew also. That was a red ball and day game now its pink ball and under the lights. The morning session is important, but now you are starting the game in the afternoon.
"It's like you are playing with the white ball in the afternoon, and now it's a pink ball. We have to see how the wicket is, the weather will be like. I think as the evening progresses the ball will reverse a bit and swing also. And this being an open ground it will be a challenge for the batsman how he bats. We will have to see."
Teams: India Red: Yuvraj Singh (C), KB Arun Karthik, M Ashwin, Ankush Bains, Srikar Bharat, Sudip Chatterjee, Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhinav Mukund, Ishwar Pandey, Nitish Rana, Nathu Singh, Anureet Singh, Gurkeerat Singh, Akshay Wakhare, Kuldeep Yadav.
India Green: Suresh Raina (C), Jasprit Bumrah, Ashok Dinda, Shreyas Gopal, Rajat Paliwal, Parthiv Patel, Rohan Prem, Ankit Rajpoot, Ambati Rayudu, Sandeep Sharma, Jalaj Saxena, Harbhajan Singh, Ian Dev Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Robin Uthappa, Murali Vijay.
Where to Watch Live
The Duleep Trophy pink ball match is scheduled for a 2 p.m. IST start. Live TV coverage of the match will be on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD4. The online live streaming option is on Hotstar.