Greater Noida, Aug 22: Indian cricket will be taking its first steps into an unknown territory as Yuvraj Singh's 'Red' team take on Suresh Raina's 'Green' brigade in the first-ever match to be played with pink ball under floodlights and coloured clothing.
While there is a novelty factor with regards to an official first class match being played with pink ball, the lack of top stars will certainly rob some sheen from the Duleep Trophy (4-day game) beginning tomorrow (August 23).
The likes of Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane will be busy in the United States playing T20 Internationals while the second batch comprising Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson is busy playing A series in Australia.
It is effectively the third string that will be playing the tournament with old guards like Yuvraj, Gautam Gambhir (Blue team) and Raina providing the BCCI with their inputs on conditions and other variables associated with an experiment of this magnitude.
Technically, this is not the first ever Day/Night first-class match in India as the 1995 Ranji final between Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay back then) was played in Gwalior but with white ball.
With ICC keen on promoting Day/Night Tests in order to bring back the dwindling crowd in the longer format, the BCCI is keen on testing waters even though there are remote chances of a much anticipated 'Pink Ball' Test match being played during the upcoming home season.
It will be a test for BCCI chief of ground staff Daljeet Singh and his team to get the Shahid Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex ready for 'Pink Ball' match.
With pink Kookaburra showing signs of wear and tear after 40 overs, a layer of grass is expected on the 22 yard strip so that the ball lasts 80 overs and doesn't change its colour.
It will be interesting to watch how likes of Yuvraj, Raina, Gambhir cope with swing under lights which is the bone of contention for many. The Kookaburra ball has a record of swinging more during the twilight session.
For the record, Josh Hazlewood and Trent Boult swung it appreciably in Adelaide during the first ever Day-Night Test that took place between Australia and New Zealand.
Rookie pacers from both sides Nathu Singh, Anureet Singh, Ashok Dinda will be testing the batsmen. The other interesting aspect will be how spinners like Kuldeep Yadav, Parvez Rasool bowl with the pink Kookaburra as a grassy layer may be an impediment towards extracting decent turn.
With India's Test squad bearing a settled look, there is a little chance that anyone from this lot will make an immediate headway but their first hand experience may go a long way to chart the course of future in the longer format.
India Red: Yuvraj Singh (captain), Abhinav Mukund, Sudeep Chatterjee, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Arun Karthik, Ankush Bains (wicketkeeper), Akshay Wakhare, Kuldeep Yadav, Nathu Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Nitish Rana, Murugan Ashwin, Abhimanyu Mithun.
India Green: Suresh Raina (captain), Robin Uthappa, Jalaj Saxena, Ambati Rayudu, Ian Dev Singh, Rohan Prem, Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Shreyas Gopal, Ashok Dinda, Sandeep Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot, Rajat Paliwal, Jasprit Bumrah, Murali Vijay.
Match starts at 2 PM IST