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Balls up puts floodlit cricket at risk

PUBLISHED: 11:07 16 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 07 September 2010

The pink ball

The pink ball

Sanchez Manning PLANS to hold evening Test matches at Lord s may be threatened if cricket bosses fail to find the right colour balls. The floodlit Tests, which will be the first of their kind in the world, were planned to be hosted in St John s Wood next

Sanchez Manning

PLANS to hold evening Test matches at Lord's may be threatened if cricket bosses fail to find the right colour balls.

The floodlit Tests, which will be the first of their kind in the world, were planned to be hosted in St John's Wood next year.

But for the matches to go ahead, officials need to find a ball colour which will be visible in the evenings, easy to spot on television and will last at least 80 overs.

Possibilities which have been tried and rejected include white, pink and even orange balls.

This week representatives from Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia met with researchers, manufacturers and a television company in the hope of finally finding a solution.

The MCC's Tony Lewis, who headed the meeting at Lord's on Wednesday, said: "As Guardian of the Laws of Cricket, we have a duty to conduct independent research and development for the good of the game and present findings to those tasked with implementation.

"MCC and its World Cricket Committee is working hard to find the coloured cricket ball solution for One Day and, potentially, Test cricket."

The MCC has already enlisted the help of scientists from Imperial College London to find the best colour. They initially tested a white ball but this was deemed unsuitable because it lost its colour too quickly.

An orange version was ruled out for its lack of visibility.

So far, the most successful trial has been with a pink ball, although this hue still met with a mixed reaction from ECB members.

Mr Lewis added: "Rather than overnight quick fixes, we'll be looking for lasting solutions."

Many cricket lovers will be deeply disappointed if a viable coloured ball is not found and the floodlit Tests are shelved.

Dhimant Patel, manager of the Formosa Street post shop and a keen cricket fan, said: "I work during the day so it would be great to go to a floodlit match in the evening.

"I'll be gutted if they don't go ahead because of the balls."

St John's Wood safer neighbourhoods PC Nick Rosling had also been looking forward to attending evening games.

He said: "It might be just one of those things, but perhaps they should have thought about their balls before."

Test matches at Lord's are highly prized, not just because of the enjoyment they bring to the fans, but also for the cash they bring to St John's Wood and the surrounding area.

A report released last year revealed a single Test match's local economic impact was an astounding £10million - supporting around 150 full-time jobs.


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