Sachin Tendulkar’s open letter to ‘men of today and tomorrow’

A piece of advice from Sachin Tendulkar served Virat Kohli well during his 194-ball 136 in the day-night Test against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens. Kohli mastered the conditions and the pink ball to score his 27th Test hundred but before that he had a chat with Tendulkar on the first day.

“(Batting in) the afternoon session was relatively easier. Actually, I spoke to Sachin paaji on the evening of the first day and he made a very interesting point as well. Probably with the pink ball, you have to treat the second session like the morning session (in conventional, red-ball cricket), when it’s getting darker and the ball starts to swing and seam.

“So first session you invariably play like you play from lunch to tea in a normal timing Test match, then the second session would be like a morning session and the last session is like that evening session. So your planning changes, declaration timing and everything changes. As a batsman, your strategy changes. Even if you are set and batting well, as soon as it gets dark and lights are on, you can be in trouble, very quickly so,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference.

Both India and Bangladesh came into this game with only a few practice sessions under lights in the lead-up. Kohli’s genius, however, made light of the difficulties. And now that India have gotten into the ‘pink-ball Test club’, it’s likely that Kohli and company will play day-night Tests away from home as well.

Last year, India had refused to play a day-night Test in Adelaide, forcing the series opener to be a day game. India are now open to playing pink-ball Test overseas but only after having adequate preparation.

“There has to be planning for pink-ball game. We played on home conditions. You ask Bangladesh and they would have liked a practice game before this game (Test). Just because we know the conditions and our bowlers are bowling so well, we don’t really feel the challenge… When we play away from home, we would figure out what could be even more difficult playing with the pink ball. A good practice game before that and enough time to prepare, we are open to anything. (But) you can’t just play it on a short notice. We get enough time to prepare we are willing to do anything. We will be quite open to it I guess,” Kohli pointed out.

The win at Eden took India’s winning streak to seven Tests on the bounce. Their consistency offers a throwback to Clive Lloyd’s West Indies or Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting’s Australia. Kohli, though, put things in perspective.

“I can only say we are at the top of our game. You can’t judge a team’s dominance with seven games. You are talking about a West Indies side which did it for 15 years. So when we all are close to retiring then you ask me this question. How the decade has gone playing together. Not after seven games. Seven years yes but not seven games.”