Cricket Australia to test new pink ball in next day-night Sheffield Shield round
A new prototype of the pink ball is to be used during the next day-night round of Sheffield Shield cricket this summer. The new version will have an all-black seam which the manufacturers hope will be easier to pick up, reports ESPN Cricinfo.
Cricket Australia’s operations manager Sean Cary hopes that the ball will be ready for round seven of the Sheffield Shield, to be played in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth from February 14-17.
"The major criticism has been around trying to see the seam of the ball, especially under lights, so we've got a prototype now with an all-black seam," Cary said. "That includes the closing seam, which has traditionally always been white no matter what colour ball it is.
"Kookaburra have worked to ensure the strength in that closing seam is as strong as just a natural linen thread they use. The plan is to have that ball manufactured over the next couple of weeks and put in place for round seven of the Shield, which is going to be another day-night round, to try out the Gabba under their new lights and give Adelaide another crack.”
Mitchell Starc, despite his impressive figures with the pink ball, has been an avid critic of the ball.
"The guys are still saying they can't see the seam. I still think when you're preparing a wicket to protect the ball, there's your issue,” he said. “I think the ball has come a long way and Kookaburra are doing a great job there but there still might be a few things to tinker with.
“I think they are tinkering with the colour of the seam this season. That might even help some more. So, I think the ball has come a long way in the last couple of years but I'd like to see the wickets keep their own characteristics and not have to change for the cricket ball.”
CA keen on day-night Tests against Pakistan and South Africa
Cricket Australia, who are on keen having a day-night Test with both Pakistan and South Africa next summer, are still in talks with the boards and the players about where to host both matches.
"The conversations continue with Pakistan, as they do with most of the countries we're playing with in the not too distant future," Cary said. "We'd really like to stage another day-night Test match next summer, and whether that's against South Africa or Pakistan is still to be decided.”
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland is hopeful of playing a day-night Ashes Test. "The Adelaide Test against New Zealand last year was clearly a success," he said. "It was proof of concept and I think it sent a message around the world that the future of Test cricket lies partly in day-night Test cricket.
"Not wholly, but in the right place at the right time and in the right conditions there are opportunities for us to play more day-night cricket not just here in Australia but in other parts of the world. On the assumption we play a day-night Test match next summer, or two, that we will progress that further and it will be more of a fixture on our calendar, needless to say, the summer after that is an Ashes summer and that just established tradition will continue.
"I know that the chairman and chief executive of the ECB are good men, very progressive in their thinking about the game and I know Tom Harrison the CEO with his background in media he will certainly understand that growing the popularity of the game is first and foremost in our minds as cricket administrators.”