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Australian spinner claims pink ball will not last in the subcontinent

Stephen O'Keefe cites abrasive pitches as major reason

Stephen O'Keefe
Stephen O’Keefe is widely regarded as a pink-ball specialist (Photo Courtesy: The Australian)

Australia’s left-arm spinner Stephen O’Keefe has opined that the pink-ball will not last in the subcontinent unless modifications are done. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a training session in Chennai, the 31-year old expressed concern over the abrasive and dry pitches found in Asia.

O’Keefe believed, “In its present form, pink ball will be hard to sustain if the condition of the wickets remain like this (in India). The ball does roughen, gets scuffed up pretty easy and changes colour. Play gets difficult once the pink fades. The current ball has to be modified if one wants it to last in these conditions.“

He added, “The wear and tear of the pitches here will take a fair bit out of the ball. I'm not sure if the SG ball behaves different. But I don't think it would last here in its current form.”

The Malaysian-born cricketer has only played 2 Tests and picked up 7 wickets. However, his comments carry pertinence due to considerable experience with the pink-ball in the domestic circuit.

He also revealed that the pink ball's not so prominent seam helped spinners enjoy an advantage over batsmen and wanted administrators to improve its durability by trying out different options.

Also Read: Problems anticipated and possible solutions with pink ball cricket in India

O’Keefe enthused, “The benefit for the spinners is it's harder for the batsmen to pick the seam on the ball. When it's in full flight, the batsmen can't see the seam and thus don't know which way the revolutions are on it. That has helped me have a bit of success.”

“There are ways in which the ball can be improved. They should try and ensure the ball does not deteriorate quickly. The idea should be to get it to move like the red ball and to get it as close to the red ball as possible. If it is kept improving, I think it'll certainly be around to stay.”

Having been named in the 15-man squad for the tour of Sri Lanka, he would hope that the training program’s experience translates into a fruitful series for him.

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