In Cricket, Pink Is The New 'Black' (or Red)

27/10/2015 1:04 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
Hannah Peters via Getty Images
HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 08: New pink cricket balls are seen during a New Zealand cricket training session at Seddon Park on October 8, 2015 in Hamilton, New Zealand. The new pink ball will be used during the upcoming test series against Australia. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

After many months of testing, the era of the pink cricket ball -- enabling Day/Night Test cricket to be played -- will officially launch next month in Adelaide in the third and final Test of the series between Australia and New Zealand.

The notion of an alternate ball to the red ball emerged many years ago when cricket authorities first looked at expanding Test cricket into the Day/Night format in pursuit of better crowds and more lucrative broadcast options.

Debate has been lengthy and vocal about alternative coloured balls, a necessity due to the traditional red leather being unsuitable for use under lights. This problem was resolved in the One Day format with the introduction of the white ball, however white would be unsuitable for the longer format of the game as the ball discolours with extended use.

Reaction to the pink ball has been varied and vocal with some players still questioning its suitability and saying it’s not too late to return the fixture to the traditional daytime Test format.

The ball has been exhaustively trialled and was again used in the match between the New Zealand Black Caps and a PMs XI team last weekend. It will also again be trialled and reviewed in the opening round of the domestic Sheffield Shield competition this week.

Adding his voice in support of the change from the traditional Test format is former Australian captain Steve Waugh saying the issue of Day/Night Test cricket has been on the agenda for a decade and the time for talking is done.

The former test captain told The Huffington Post Australia having the pink balls in day/night matches would have been "amazing."

"I would have loved to have played [in a day-night test match]," he said on Tuesday.

"I was in an era where day-night [one day games] were in vogue, and people were skeptical about the white ball, saying it would be hard to see and get discoloured. But once you start playing, it’s fine."

Waugh added there needed to be more people in more countries watching Test Cricket.

"They’re not doing that," he said.

"If we can get kids excited about going to the cricket because there’s a pink ball, if adults are coming after work because they’ve got more time to see the game, I think it’s a good thing."

South Australian batsman Callum Ferguson says he is excited by the prospect of Day/Night Test cricket and the pink ball.

“It’s been exciting. The balls over the last couple of years probably didn’t hold up as much as Kookaburra would have liked, however, they’re certainly making inroads and trying to improve it as much as they can,” he said.

The South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) is even rumoured to be preparing to train with the new ball under lights ahead of the Redback’s opening Shield game this week.

Kookaburra -- the long-time manufacturer of Australian cricket balls -- is not taking kindly to the criticism however, stating the change is in fact very subtle and is as close as possible to a replica of the red ball noting that all balls will discolour to some degree after lengthy use.

The feedback from the Sheffield Shield matches will determine any further discussions on the issue between the players and Cricket Australia.

Cricket Australia is unlikely to change any arrangements at this late stage and the final Test of the opening series in this summer's international cricket season will be the litmus test for what is seen as the next big innovation in the game.

The New Zealanders certainly do not seem phased, performing well in the invitational match in preparation for the first Test starting on November 5 at the Gabba in Brisbane.

This post has been changed to correctly state the ball will be introduced in the Third Test in the series against New Zealand.

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