There has been a lot of buzz around the introduction of the Pink ball in test cricket and International matches. The planning and invention of the pink cricket ball are apparently by the Australian manufacturer Kookaburra with inputs from Shannon Gill who belonged to the company.
When the variant was first introduced in an International game with Australia playing against New Zealand in the year 2015, there has been a lot of talk going around it. Despite various concerns raised by players about the use of pink color and its visibility in low light, it has been constantly tested in International and domestic games across nations.
In this article, we get to see why there is such a fuss about the new introduction and why the pink ball is used in cricket. We shall also have a look at why it is different and how with the below details and comparisons.
1) Types of Cricket Balls Used at Different Levels
In the International arena, three colored balls are being used. They are red for a day match, pink ball in day/night test match and white-colored in one day or day/night matches (50 Overs per side) and T20 (20 overs per side).
In test matches different cricket ball colors and types that are used by test playing nations are either SG (Sanspareils Greenlands) or Kookaburra or the Dukes.
Test matches that are played in the West Indies and England primarily use Dukes ball.
However, the SG ball is used in India while test matches are being played. In test matches that are played anywhere else in the world apart from India, West Indies, and England the only ball that is used is Kookaburra which is also used in ODIs (One Day Internationals). Kookaburra cricket ball color is either in red or white depending on ODIs or test match use.
2) Making of the Cricket Ball of Different Types
The only similarity between the Dukes, Kookaburra, and the SG ball is the number of pieces that are stitched together. Each cricket ball is made of six pieces of leather that are stitched together with three on each side of the ball.
▸ Similarities with SG and Dukes Ball
The similarities between the SG and the Dukes and different types of a cricket ball is the fact that they are all hand-stitched. Each of the six rows of stitching is done by hand and no machine is involved in the stitching part of the ball. SG and Dukes manufacturers have their balls comprising of six rows that run across the two hemispheres.
▸ Kookaburra Ball
There are four outer rows of the Kookaburra ball that uses the help of machines to be stitched. With two rows of the central seam alone requires manual stitching for these cricket ball types. The Kookaburra manufactured and supplied the cricket pink ball for the first time to be used in tests.
3) What Makes an SG Pink Cricket Ball Different from the Red Cricket Balls?
It is commonly stated by many people that the SG pink cricket ball in the day/night test match between India vs Bangladesh is a breed that is in between the white ball and red ball. There are said to be various reasons for this to be called so and we look at the details below along with the making of the pink ball for test cricket from SG manufacturer.
Pink ball has its inner core made of rubber and cork. The weight of the Pink ball is around 156 grams. Pink ball comprises 3 Lip stitches, 2 pronounced stitches, and 78 stitches each on either side. The ball comes with a pronounced seam which helps the bowlers with a better grip even when there is dew.
▸ Color Difference
The making of the Pink ball takes about 8 days while it takes just 2 days to make a Red ball. The basic color difference between the SG red ball and the pink ball is how is cricket pink ball made. The bright red color of the SG ball is prepared by dipping the leather in the dye of red before stitching the ball together.
However, for the pink ball in a cricket match, they use a different process altogether. This process is otherwise known as pigmentation of the color pink into the surface of the ball. The process of the white ball is also the same where pigmentation is used. They use the process of pigmentation as the light color does not absorb well with the leather, that is used to make the ball. The initial application of the color pink or white is done before the pigmentation process begins.
The prominent seam position that is available with the red ball remains the same with the pink cricket ball manufactured by SG. This ensures that the seam position remains prominent for longer periods to accommodate the duration of 90 overs in a test match.
These are the main reasons the manufacturers call the pink SG ball to be one that is perfectly sitting between a white ball and a red ball used in cricket matches.
▸ Swing, Reverse Swing and Seam Movements of the Pink Ball
Since the pink ball in a cricket match is still in the testing phase there is not much information available in terms of swing and seam movements about the same. Different geographical conditions, weather, dew, surface, and other things play a major role that has to do with the swing and seam movements.
The pink cricket ball swing and seam are said to be a little more prominent than the red ball. However, it remains to be seen how it would have an impact on the day and night test match to be played between the two countries for the first time in Kolkata.
Although pink ball cricket in India has been creating a buzz with Virat Kohli (Indian Team Captain) agreeing to play with this ball it remains to be seen how it works out.
As far as reverse swing with the old ball goes with the pink cricket ball is yet to be known. However, with exponents of reverse swing in the Indian cricket team and with the SG ball in hand it is expected to make a difference in the upcoming day/night test match.
4) The Extra Care Required for the Pink Ball
It is expected that there would be extra care that is put in by the players from both sides to keep the pink cricket ball color intact. Since the dew is expected to play its part during the day/night games there obviously needs extra care to keep the ball dry. In case the ball becomes too wet it would make gripping difficult for spinners and seamers alike.
5) Venturing into the Unknown with a Pink Ball Game
As far as Virat Kohli (Indian Captain) and Mominul Haque (Bangladeshi Captain) are concerned they are venturing into the unknown with the upcoming pink ball game. This is because both team players have little to no experience whatsoever when it comes to playing in a day/night test match with the new type of ball and conditions.
Although these players may have been used to different types of cricket ball played in different conditions around the world this one is expected to be a tester for both teams.
6) What Top Players Have to Say About the Use of a Pink Cricket Ball?Source
The Indian captain was careful with his words when talking about the introduction of the pink ball in a cricket match in India.
He insisted on the change in reflexes in picking the new color of the ball that they are not used to. He also believed that the pink ball would swing more than the red variant and would bring the fast bowlers into the picture if the pitch favors them.
The Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane was also equally suggestive about the pink cricket ball swing and how prominent it would be.
When asked about the opinion relating to the 1st ever pink-ball Test Match between India and Bangladesh, the Bangladesh skipper, Mominul Haque told the reportersthat the visitor side badly needed a practice match before the 1st ever pink-ball Test Match since this is something very new for both the teams.
However, he added saying that even though there had been no practice match, the Bangladesh team will strive hard to get the basics right on the field as the Match starts.
7) Build-Up to the Historic First Day/Night Test Match Using Pink Ball for India in IndiaSource
With a cricket crazy nation like India, you would expect the frenzy that surrounds the historic day/night test match that is supposed to be played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The frenzy is so much that it is expected for paratroopers from the Indian Army to fly in with a pink cricket ball for each captain ahead of the toss. Top celebrities, cricketing legends and famous personalities belonging to different industries are expected to be present for the event. The tickets for the first three days of the test match are sold out already which was announced recently.
Taking into consideration the weather, pitch conditions, dew factor, swing, reverse swing, seam movement, and spin factor, it is fair to say it is a new dimension to look at. Even countries like Australia that have excessively used pink balls in cricket match are yet to get the hang of how it would work in different conditions.
It remains to be seen on what it has in store when introduced in India. The curiosity factor even among experts and legends of the game is quite prominent, to say the least. One would have to wait and watch to get further inputs on how the pink cricket ball that is provided by SG would fare in these conditions.
FAQs Related To Pink Cricket Ball
Q. Why the pink ball is used in the day/night test?
The main reason that the pink cricket ball is used in day/night test matches is due to the visibility factor. Conventional red balls take up a brownish color under lights that are yellow and can easily be lost in the pitch as it is of the same color. Although the white ball is an option the possibility of the batsmen losing it in the background of the colors of t-shirts worn by players is high. This is why the pink ball is preferred over red or white ball.
Q. How many balls are used in a cricket match?
With relevance to the topic, a pink ball in cricket is expected to last for 90 overs before it is changed. However, in case of excessive damage or change in shape due to external factors change in the ball is possible even in between an innings.
Q. Why does the pink ball swing more?
Humidity, overcast conditions and other external factors affect the cricket ball swing of the pink ball. This is relevant to both white balls and red balls as well that are predominantly used in cricket.