New pink ball prototype gets Shield trial

There were some concerns raised about the visibility of the seam during the inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand © Getty Images

A fresh prototype of the pink ball will be trialled during the next day-night Sheffield Shield round later this summer, as negotiations intensify around more flood-lit Test cricket in 2016-17.

The salient criticism of the Adelaide Test between Australia and New Zealand centred on the seam, which most players found fiendishly difficult to see under lights. In another departure from years of traditional ball design, the new pink ball will have an all-black seam in the hope that this will be simpler to pick up.

Cricket Australia’s operations manager Sean Cary said that the ball was currently being manufactured in sufficient qualities to service round seven of the Shield, to be played in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth from February 14-17. The Gabba is under consideration for a day-night Test of its own next season.

“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 told ESPNcricinfo. “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, an ardent critic of the pink ball before the Adelaide match, said much progress had been made but more was needed, both in terms of the colour of the seam and the durability of the ball. “The guys are still saying they can’t see the seam,” he said. “I still think when you’re preparing a wicket to protect the ball, there’s your issue.

“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 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.”

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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