‘Pink balls ready for day-night Test matches’

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SYDNEY: The manufacturer of cricket’s new pink ball has declared it is “Test match ready” — if the inaugural day-night Test goes ahead in Australia in November.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) hopes to stage the first day-night Test against New Zealand later this year, with Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart the possible venues.

Kookaburra managing director Brett Elliot said he had been pleased with the results of extensive testing, including in the Sheffield Shield last season when a ball with a green seam was used.

Elliot said the pink ball had been tested by CA, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Marylebone Cricket Club.

“The Kookaburra turf pink ball has been extensively tested over the past five years by the MCC, ECB, CA, and I believe the ball is ready for an international Test. We have also supplied a number of other ICC members like Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), and have been equally happy with its performances at domestic level,” Elliot was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

“There has always been a subtle difference in the construction of the turf red to that of the turf white ball and the same applies to that of the pink ball. In fact, in terms of construction, the pink ball sits in between that of the red and white turf. They all have identical centres which is the proven Kookaburra five-layered centre so, in terms of hardness, bounce, all three balls are identical.

“They also all use the very best of Australia hide which is carefully alum tanned. However, the red and the pink leather is dyed whereas the white is not.”

There have been some concerns from batsmen and bowlers about the visibility of the ball during the dusk period, particularly when it began to scuff up, while spectators and even state coaches said they had struggled to see the ball race along the field at night.

In the most recent Sheffield Shield trials, the ball swung and seamed for longer and it retained its hardness.

“To ensure the best visibility whilst also preserving the natural wear characteristics of the ball throughout the course of the game, we add additional colour to the pink ball and also the white ball. This enhances the brightness of the ball although some say also encourages early swing,” Elliot said.

“Like most things that are new and different it will be critically analysed. However, I feel an extensive amount of research, development and testing has gone into the ball to make it as close to the red turf ball as possible and, thus, Test match ready.”

CA hopes the day-night format will eventually encourage more people to attend matches after work, particularly in countries where the traditional format is struggling attendance-wise.