Pink ball to be used for Pakistan's Quaid-e-Azam trophy final
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are set for their biggest experiment with the pink ball yet with the Quaid-e-Azam trophy final on Sunday, The Indian Express reports. With a day-night Test between Pakistan and Australia very much a possibility later this year, the PCB will be using the latest versions of the ball imported from Down Under for the showpiece match of its premier first-class cricket tournament.
The final will take place on Sunday at the National Stadium in Karachi and will be played between Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq-led Sui Northern Gas Pipelines and Younis Khan-skippered United Bank.
Speaking about the decision, PCB Cricket Committee head Shakil Sheikh acknowledged that the match will have high significance considering the success of the first ever day-night Test which was held in November between Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking prior to that match, Shakil Sheikh had said: ““We are also thinking to send someone to as an observer to witness the first game between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide. But at the time are obviously keen and enthusiastic about the idea and the committee will debate about playing the Quaid-e-Azam trophy final with the new pink balls."
The PCB have been a huge advocate of using the pink ball for day-night Test and had proposed a Test under lights in Dubai when they hosted Sri Lanka in 2013-14. However, Sri Lanka Cricket declined the offer as their players did not have match practice with the pink ball.
With Cricket Australia proposing a day-night Test when Pakistan tour Australia for a three-match Test series in the summer of 2016-17, the PCB are stepping up their preparations in a match which is expected to feature Test players like Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Wahab Riaz and Ehsan Adil, apart from the veterans Misbah and Younis.
Interestingly, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final has been played twice under the artificial lights using an orange ball in the 2010-11 season and a pink ball in 2011-12 – a fact Shakil Sheikh was quick to remind.
“We had experimented with the orange ball in the final of the trophy in 2011 and then with a pink ball in 2012 so the latest final will help us further assess the pink ball as Australia have offered us to play a day-night Test later this year,” Shakil Sheikh said.
“We are ready to experiment at the highest level and this final will help the players and the board to consider the day-night Test offer, after which we will finalise our plans,” added Sheikh.