There’s an old saying that describes how putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t change the fact that it is still a pig.
I don’t know how it goes exactly, but let’s assume I was close enough.
This week saw the start of another Sheffield Shield Season. With it came a full round of pink ball cricket.
Ah, the pink ball.
So much has been written about it.
It wears too quickly. It’s hard to pick up at square leg under lights. It swings a bit. It’s too soft. It doesn’t seam. It’s not red or white. Colour blind players can’t see it.
But you know what? It is still just a cricket ball.
Apart from the pretty pigmentation, everything else is the same.
Amazingly, it still weighs 156 grams. Unbelievably, it still has a cork centre. Remarkably, it is still wound in string. Mindblowingly, it is still bound in leather.
That leather happens to be fluoro pink. It could be red. Perhaps even white.
No matter what colour it is, Mitchell Starc will still be pinging it down at 150kph, making it swing and troubling any batsman in the world.
No matter what colour it is, after 50 overs it will deteriorate and be harder to pick up.
No matter what colour it is, after a period of time, it will lose its hardness.
The latest nonsense comes from Victorian Bushranger John Hastings, who claims it doesn’t seam enough.
Given how pitches are these days, seam is a rare quality to start with. Since when did the colour of the dye injected into the leather suddenly impact seam position from the bowlers hand or the stickiness of the turf it is bowled into?
For all the naysayers who have mutinied against this change, the logical members of society have already seen the benefits.
Crowds were up. To be more accurate, there were actually people watching Sheffield Shield live for the first time since 1965.
Long form cricket is now being played at night, opening the door to better fixtures, bigger TV audiences, greater exposure and increased revenues.
From what I saw, the pink ball is superior to the white at night, especially when it comes to visibility by the spectator. If it’s easier for me to see it, surely it’s easier for the players to see it.
The bigger discussion is how long until the white ball is redundant?
We use two of them in each ODI innings at the moment because of how dull it gets. The pink ball doesn’t have that problem. After 80 overs, it was arguably easier to see than a red ball of the season age.
T20 leagues should adopt it immediately.
When you break it all down, no ball is designed to behave in the first over the same as it does in over 50 or over 80.
Get on pink. It makes everything look pretty.
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