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All eyes on pink ball which is getting better

Kookaburra spokesperson Gill on the ball’s improving quality and increasing popularity

Image Credit: AFP
Muhammad Amir of Pakistan bowls during the first day of the second Test cricket matchbetween Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium in Dubai.
Gulf News

Dubai. All eyes were on the pink ball during the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is only the second time in a Test match that fans here have been able to enjoy watching Test cricket being played with the pink ball after October 13-16, 2016 between Pakistan and West Indies.

Dubai International stadium has thus joined Adelaide Oval in Australia which has also hosted two day-night Test matches.

Speaking to Gulf News, Shannon Gill, the spokesperson for Kookaburra, the makers of the pink ball, said: “Since last year we have had great feedback that the ball has progressed. From last year there is slight modifications to the pink coating to make sure it’s stays visible for longer, while we have also sourced stronger thread for the seam to keep the seam harder for longer.”

According to Gill, the pink ball, when it comes to visibility, is the best ball. “We trialled different colours and the message back when we made those initial trials ten years ago was that the MCC and ICC thought the pink was the right one.”

Answering to a query on how different will the pink ball be from other types of regular balls, Gill said: “The difference between the red ball and the pink ball is that the pink would not get scruffed and dirty as easily as the red ball. It is like if you are wearing a white shirt and you drop your food on the shirt it is going to be much more noticeable than if you have got a black shirt.”

Shiva Pagarani, the convener of the Dubai Cricket Council (DCC), who introduced pink ball to domestic cricket through the DCC Pink Ball Forties tournament, said: “Playing in pink ball is a totally different experience. The pink ball really stands out bright and clear.”

The ball that DCC used was of high quality costing Dh120. “It is costlier than the red ball which cost around Dh99 but now cheaper pink balls are also available for Dh50,” added Pagarani who has introduced Silver Challenge tournament which is also played only with pink ball.

Gill is happy that pink is now assisting pace and spin. “Since the Dubai Test match, two Tests were held in Australia with pink ball when Australia played Pakistan in Brisbane and South Africa versus Australia in Adelaide. In both matches the ball helped pace as well as spin bowlers.”

Gill also revealed that pink ball now assists reverse swing. “We have also seen seam bowlers finding ways to reverse swing the ball, which was something that wasn’t happening during the first years of pink ball cricket.”

Kookaburra is hoping to keep the ball harder through various innovations. The oncoming South Africa versus Zimbabwe day-night match on Boxing Day will be held with Kookaburra pink ball. Gill is hoping that more countries that haven’t used pink ball will also try it out.