Pink balls set for one-day trials
The white ball used in one-day cricket could be replaced by a pink one if tests prove it is more durable. A flourescent ball could be adopted for full county cricket by 2009, and then across the international game. The red ball lasts much longer, so the pink ball will not be used for Tests and four-day county games.
“It’s about the quality of the ball and the fact the white one doesn’t last 50 overs,” a spokesman for the game’s lawmakers, the MCC, told BBC Sport. But there is also the visibility factor to consider – white balls can be notoriously difficult for fielders and batsmen to see in certain light conditions.
The tests will be carried out in the nets at Lord’s this winter and also in women’s cricket in Australia. In the summer of 2008, further trials will see the pink ball used in county second XI and university matches.
The MCC’s head of cricket John Stephenson said: “Paint tends to flake off white balls. The challenge is to produce a ball which retains its colour.
“My aim would be to use the pink ball in Twenty20 cricket in 2009 and therafter in one-day international cricket. But this will be dependent on trials and what the England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] thinks.”
Mike Gatting, the ECB’s managing director of cricket partnerships, said: “We must always push the game forward and make sure we have the right equipment.
“We have tried white and orange balls and perhaps pink ones will last longer. This is a very interesting and a very wise development.”
Traditional red balls used for Test and first-class cricket can last 80 overs before being replaced. However, in one-day internationals a mandatory ball change is now enforced after 34 overs because the white titanium dioxide dye rubs off the leather.
Kookaburra, the Australian manufacturer charged with making the existing white balls, are also producing the pink ones to be used in the trial.