The Abu Dhabi international cricket stadium will be hosting only the second day-night Test match in the game's history. Pakistan will be taking on the West Indies in the historic clash on 13th October 2016. The match is set to attract a lot of people across the globe as the revamped version of the traditional format of the game has only been played once earlier at the international arena.
Among the closely following will be the ball-makers from Sialkot, Pakistan. Sialkot is termed as the country's sports manufacturing hub. Grays of Cambridge, a sports manufacturing company in the city, stands out among the rest.
"We are probably making 15,000 to 20,000 pink balls per year. The numbers of pink balls are growing," said Khawar Anwar Khawaja, chief executive of Grays of Cambridge, who have been making cricket balls since 1953.
The increasing demand for pink balls is bound to increase in the coming years as cricket fraternities all across think that day-night Test match is the only option to preserve the oldest format of the game. After several trials, the ICC had to implement the usage of pink ball in day-night Test match as it was clearly visible against the dark skies as well as the white kits.
Talking about the demand for balls in the recent years, Khawaja said, "Last year we produced about 120,000 cricket balls (all colors), but our demand is growing. We hope to do this year minimum hopefully around 150,000 balls."
Also read: Red, White and Pink balls- The Difference
Sialkot's affair with the sports good manufacturing goes back to the 19th century. The locals first began to produce footballs to the British army. The city has even supplied balls for 2014 FIFA World Cup. As of 12th October 2016, the city's exports are worth $900 million annually.
Grays of Cambridge is Pakistan's premier brand and produces red, white, pink and orange cricket balls for the leading markets in Australia and England for top international brands such as Dukes and Gray-Nicolls. Basking on the glory of his reputed manufacturing company, Khawaja said, "We have been producing pink for the last seven (or) eight years and exporting them to mainly Australia and to England as well." Cricket balls, weighing between 142 to 163 grams depending on the category are sold for between $4 and $25.
With several nations coming forward in support of the day-night Test matches, the Sialkot ball-makers can expect a bright future lying ahead of them.