Pink ball should be one-off experiment

2015-11-24 22:18
Tony Irish (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The introduction of a pink ball in a day-night test at the Adelaide Oval between Australia and New Zealand should be viewed as a one-off experiment and the collective view of the players globally should be central to the decision whether to persist with pink, said Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association.

The pink ball and the inaugural day-night-test is a testimony to the fervent pursuit by cricket administrators globally to seek a remedy to the dwindling crowd attendances and interest in red-ball cricket and to revive the test game.

According to AFP, cricket Australia chief James Sutherland is a leading proponent and believes the pink missile should be viewed as part of the evolution of the five-day game.

"We know and understand we need to shift entertainment into periods of the day that are more appealing," Sutherland said.

"I love all cricket but my preferred format of the game is test cricket. And I honestly believe if we do nothing then we are at risk of loving test cricket to death,” he said in an interview to AFP.

But Irish said there have been strong reservations among players about two important aspects of the pink ball. Its durability over 80 overs is questionable because it deteriorates a lot quicker than the red ball.

Its visibility is also a concern. Players from different countries over a period of time have expressed their frustrations about that.

Irish said the players are very mindful of the possible commercial benefits of the pink-ball experiment and therefore were prepared to try to implement it.

Irish said international players of all the cricketing nations view tests as the most important format of the game, and their views should be central to the retention or abolishment of the experiment.

“If you mess with the test format (and don’t take the players’ view into account), you will be encountering big problems. So, let us see what happens. If there is a plan to play in further test matches, the views of the players should be taken into account.”

Irish said the pink ball experiment was utilized in the Africa Cup, but abandoned before the final weekend of the T20-tournament due to players’ concerns.

A couple of seasons ago, the pink ball was also introduced in a four-day match.

Generally, the use of the pink ball has had mixed reviews in South Africa due to some players’ frustrations about durability and visibility.

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