MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has expressed concerns about the pink ball to be used in the first day-night test, saying it behaved “very differently” to the usual red ball and crowds might not even be able to see it.
Starc, who was named the player of the World Cup in March, also questioned the efficacy of the format as a measure of a cricketer’s career, suggesting night tests might need to be recorded separately given the vastly different conditions on offer.
The 25-year-old left-armer was involved in a round of Sheffield Shield day-night trial matches in Australia but was not convinced by the concept.
“It doesn’t react anything like the red ball, in terms of swing and the hardness of it anyway,” he told media in England, where Australia are preparing for the Ashes.
“It goes soft pretty quickly, I didn’t see a huge amount of reverse swing in that game and I don’t think it swung from memory too much until the artificial light took over.
“It definitely reacts very, very differently to the red ball.
“The other thing as well is, personally, I couldn’t see the thing at night on the boundary. I couldn’t see the ball. So I’m not sure how the crowd are going to see it.
“I understand the pink ball has changed a lot from when it first came in for trials. It’s improved a lot, so Kookaburra has done well there.
“But time will tell if it works with the crowds and the viewership and the way that cricketers respond to it.”
The first day-night test will be played between Australia and New Zealand on Nov. 27, the third and final match of their series, with administrators hopeful the format can translate to improved crowds and broadcast revenue.
After Tuesday’s announcement, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland insisted the ball was ready for use after years of development and testing.
Starc’s skepticism was at odds with some of his team mates, including batsman Steven Smith and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who both welcomed the initiative.
Australia test opener Chris Rogers, however, has effectively ruled himself out of playing night tests given his colour-blindness affects his vision of the pink ball.
“He’s not the only player out there who is going to be affected by seeing the ball,” Starc said.
“Whether you have to start a whole new set of stats for the pink ball as you do with the red and white ball — it throws up a huge number of questions and theories about where the game is going.”