Experiment with pink cricket ball

London, November 13:

Cricketers could soon be using a pink ball.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which creates and upholds the rules of cricket, is working with a British university to determine the merits of a pink ball. Traditionally, white balls are used for one-day and Twenty20 matches and red balls are used for Test and all other cricket.

White balls were first used in 1978, when the game was first played under floodlights at the

Sydney Cricket Ground. MCC assistant secretary for cricket, John Stephenson, said the experiments with Imperial College in London were designed to see if the pink balls compensated for visibility difficulties with white balls.

“The challenge is to create a ball that retains its color,” Stephenson said. “It’s well known that the white ball deteriorates more quickly than the red. Paint flakes off, making them inconsistent.” The MCC will experiment with the ball, manufactured by sporting firm Kookaburra, in MCC university matches in 2008.

“This is still very much at an embryonic stage,” Stephenson said. “As well as the problems with the deterioration of the ball, we anticipate that batsmen will find it easier to see, particularly in poor light.”

Former England captain Mike Gatting, who works at the England and Wales Cricket Board as managing director of cricket partnerships, is keeping an eye on the testing. “We must always push the game forward and ensure we have the right equipment,” Gatting said on Tuesday.