With India about to play in England soon, middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari stated that the Dukes always does something unlike the Kookaburra which gets soft with time. He also added that unlike in India, where you can get away with many shots, one needs to be certain of shot-selection in England.
The senior Indian men's team is bracing up for a big summer - WTC finale followed by the five-match Test series against England. Winning these two series can help Virat Kohli carve a special legacy as a captain. But, for that, Indian batting will need to stand-up , which was not the case last time when they toured England in 2018 and lost 1-4. Playing against Duke balls in seam-friendly conditions is as tough a challenge as it gets in Test cricket.
Hanuma Vihari, who last played a Test in Sydney, earlier, this year, and was part of an epic draw, is fit and back with the side. Talking about the difference between the Australia and England conditions and the balls used in the respective countries, he stated that unlike the Kookaburra ball, the Dukes does something throughout the day, which makes things tricky for the batters.
"The Kookaburra gets soft in Australia after a while. But the Dukes does something all day - off the wicket or in the air. There's always something for the bowlers and that is the key challenge. When I came to England in April, it was quite cold. Even if you believe you are set, you can still be surprised by the movement. Like when I got out in my 30s against Essex, where I thought the wicket was quite good to bat on, but the odd ball was doing something because of the hard seam on the Dukes," Vihari told ESPN Cricinfo.
He further added that the conditions are tough in England, owing to the overhead conditions as the ball moves all day long if the conditions are overcast.
"Definitely, that's the challenge here. The overhead conditions play a part as well because when it is sunny, it gets a bit easier to bat, but when it is overcast, the ball moves all day. That was the challenge I faced early on in this season of county cricket - because it was quite cold and the ball was doing a lot off the wicket."
Vihari is the only Indian batsman who has played county cricket this season. However, he struggled to get going and in six innings for Warwickshire, only once crossed the fifty-run-mark, bagging four single-digit scores and two ducks. Talking about his experience, Vihari opined that, unlike in India, batsmen cannot get away with playing one shot too many in England, and will need to be careful about shot selection.
"I thought it was full enough for me to drive, but again, in England you have to be really certain with your shot selection. In India, you can get away with a push, or even if it is not there to drive, you can still get away driving on the up. If I were to play that ball a second time, I would try to play as late possible."
The 27-year-old rued the fact that he didn't get a big score in the game against Essex where he had put his best show of the season.
“Having said that, it was just my first innings in county cricket. I learned that I should play much later. In the second match, against Essex, I got 30 and 50. Essex are the defending champions and have a decent bowling attack with Peter Siddle and Simon Harmer. I thought I batted well, but I should have converted it into a bigger score.”