Pink balls under lights in Abu Dhabi cricket trial

BY foxsports • December 11, 2009

The traditional curtain raiser to the English cricket season will be the first four-day fixture to be played under floodlights using pink balls when it is staged in Abu Dhabi for the first time next year. The experiment will take place at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium from March 29 when the Marylebone Cricket Club plays the county champion, which is currently Durham. "We've been asking cricket authorities around the world to help us trial the pink ball under floodlights," MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said in Friday's announcement. "If this match is a success, it could help to reinvigorate test cricket. We have an opportunity to play our part for the good of the game and we're determined to grasp it." Traditionally, white balls are used for one-day and Twenty20 matches and red balls are used for test and all other cricket. But the MCC, which creates and upholds the rules of cricket, has been working with experts to determine the merits of a bright pink ball to compensate for visibility difficulties with white balls under floodlights. The MCC, which has no regular team, fields a side once a year for the curtain raising game. "Although it is a disappointment not to have the traditional season opener at Lord's we fully understand and support the reasons for that and are therefore honored to have the opportunity to take part in this innovative and historic match," Durham head coach Geoff Cook said. "As the game of cricket generally is moving forward, the possibility of playing with pink cricket balls for the first time in a four-day match, under floodlights, is an experience that the players will be really looking forward to." The same teams opened the 2009 season with a rain-hit draw at Lord's. And Stephenson of the MCC said that, because of poor weather, staging the match at Lord's at the start of April is "far too early in the year to play meaningful cricket." United Arab Emirates cricketers, as well as the best English county, and MCC University players can be selected for the MCC team. Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell were among the eight full internationals that were selected by the MCC for the 2009 fixture.

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