English manufacturer Dukes has proposed a solution to the age-old problem of light-stopping play in Test cricket. The use of pink balls in day Tests could reduce the time lost to bad light, according to Dilip Jajodia, the managing director of Dukes. Jajodia claims that the quality of the pink ball has improved and that the company now has a pink ball that is superior to any other product on the market, lasting 80 overs.
The concept of replacing the red balls traditionally used in Test cricket with pink ones has faced resistance due to tradition. Still, Jajodia argues that the entertainment industry must find ways to keep players on the field and entertain audiences. In Australia, the CEO of the Australian Cricketers' Association, Todd Greenberg, also supports finding innovative solutions to ensure play continues while protecting the contest between bat and ball.
Despite its potential, the use of pink balls in Test cricket has not caught on as much as in some countries, particularly Australia, where Adelaide's day-night Test has become a feature of the Test summer. In England, the strong support for Test cricket, combined with concerns about cooler weather in the evenings, has limited the use of pink balls to just one Test, the 2017 Edgbaston Test against the West Indies.
The Dukes ball is currently only used in England, Ireland, and the West Indies, with the other nine Test nations using different manufacturers. During the Test match between Australia and South Africa in Sydney last month, there was significant criticism that play was lost to bad light, even though the ground had operational floodlights. This highlights the need for finding solutions to the issue of light-stopping play in Test cricket.
Dukes' proposal to use pink balls in Test cricket instead of red ones could be a game-changer in solving the problem of the light-stopping play. The improved quality of the pink ball, combined with the company's claims of its superior longevity, could be the solution that the cricketing world has been waiting for. Using pink balls in day Tests could reduce the time lost to bad light, allowing players to stay on the field and entertain audiences.