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Sport24.co.za | Manufacturer defends pink ball



Sydney – The
manufacturer of the pink ball to be used in next month’s first day-night Test
match said on Monday its revolutionary innovation is up to scratch amid growing
criticism.

The historic Test is
scheduled for Adelaide Oval on November 27 between Australia and New Zealand in
a move authorities hope will boost television audiences and usher in a
lucrative new era for the five-day game.

Yet there has been
scepticism and criticism of the new-type ball, designed to be more visible
under lights than the traditional red one, with several players speaking out
against it.

Senior Australian
batsman Adam Voges said it did not hold up well in recent matches against New
Zealand in Canberra.

“Both balls got
chewed up pretty quickly,” Voges said after Friday’s Prime Minister’s XI
one-day game against the Black Caps. “There wasn’t much pink left on it by
the end of the game.”

New Zealand opener Tom
Latham added that the pink ball deteriorated a little bit more than usual.

Cricket Australia has
pointed to an abrasive Manuka Oval pitch in Canberra as the cause, expecting
the ball to hold up better in this week’s round of domestic Sheffield Shield
matches.

There have also been
concerns raised by the firm responsible for the ball-tracking technology to be
used by broadcaster The Nine Network during the Test that it may not work with
the pink version.

But Brett Elliott,
managing director of manufacturer Kookaburra, said no cricket ball had gone
through the level of testing and development that the pink ball had.

“It is as close
to the red ball as we could make it,” he said.

“Players have
become very skilled at adapting to the different playing conditions around the
world.

“In England, they
have to get used to the different pitches and weather conditions and the Duke
ball. In India they play in completely different conditions again and use an SG
ball.

“The pink ball is
probably the most insignificant or the most subtle change that they’ve had to
deal with, because in essence it’s just a replication of the red.”

Test stars will have a
chance to try the pink ball in the day-night Sheffield Shield round that starts
on Wednesday.

Australia’s new Test
skipper Steve Smith was diplomatic when asked about the change to cricket’s
oldest format.

“It’s really
exciting,” he said at the weekend, and former captain Steve Waugh shared
the sentiment.

“Test cricket is
withering away in a lot of countries; Australia and England are the only two
places where people watch Test matches,” Waugh said.

“Day-night will
bring people back to the game. We’ve got to get over the fact it might not be a
perfect ball … once we play one day-night Test people will be saying ‘what
were we worrying about?’.”



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