A cricket ball looks pretty in pink, but former Test great Justin Langer reckons white should be the colour of choice when it comes to playing twilight Sheffield Shield matches.
Cricket Australia is desperate to pioneer the introduction of day-night Test matches in the near future, but the ball remains their biggest obstacle.
Last summer, pink balls were trialled during one round of the Shield season, but players complained it was too hard to see the white seam once night hit.
This weekend, pink balls with green seams will be trialled in day-night matches involving all six Shield teams.
CA hopes they are close to developing a ball that will not only be capable of holding up for long-form cricket, but also won’t disadvantage the batsmen or be too hard to see for the crowd.
Langer feels the white balls that are already widely used in twilight one-day matches could be the answer, with players also switching to coloured clothes so the ball doesn’t camouflage.
And the former opener said CA should also consider following the lead from one-day cricket by employing two balls – one for either end.
“It’s been the same story. Whether it was the orange ball, the yellow ball, or the pink ball from last year – the issue is it changes the game a lot,” Langer said.
“Maybe they should just play in coloured clothes with the white ball, because that’s proven.
“People might say it goes away from wearing white clothes. But using a pink ball goes away from using a red ball.
“The white ball is easier to see from the crowd, and it’s easier for the batters to see.
“And as silly as it sounds, maybe they can use a white ball from both ends.
“Traditionally the white ball stops swinging, and that’s why they use two white balls now in one-day cricket to try to even up a contest a bit more.”
Tasmania coach Dan Marsh is also keen for the white ball to come under consideration for day-night Shield clashes.
“That was my feedback from last year as well,” Marsh said.
“The issue with the white ball has always been making it last 80 overs.
“As JL said, you might need two.
“And if you’re going to play under lights, I’ve got no issues with players in coloured clothes.”
WA are riding a wave of confidence following their one-day title triumph and Monday’s seven-wicket Shield win over Tasmania at the WACA Ground.
The Warriors will now host Queensland in a day-night Shield fixture at the WACA, starting Saturday.
The other twilight fixtures will see Tasmania play Victoria at Bellerive Oval, and South Australia lock horns with NSW at Adelaide Oval.