Pink ball chal­lenge ex­cites Test ri­vals

Pak­istan and West Indies set for a his­tory night in Dubai

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

As play­ers from both teams went through their fi­nal rounds of prepa­ra­tion ahead of tonight’s land­mark day-night Test in Dubai there was an air of scep­ti­cism sur­round­ing the pink ball.

Both for­mer play­ers and cricket boards have had their reser­va­tions about the day-night Test, but more re­cently it is the ball that has faced the brunt of the crit­i­cism.

“The seam is dif­fer­ent,” said Pak­istan batsman Azhar Ali.

“It’s hard to see the seam, espe­cially with the spin­ners. You can’t re­ally spot it. It’s a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge and we will get to know it bet­ter as we play more.

“We played one or two games, play­ers have had ex­pe­ri­ence with the pink ball in the do­mes­tic cir­cuit but in­ter­na­tion­ally it’s the first game.”

Nev­er­the­less, Azhar put on a con­fi­dent face when asked if the prepa­ra­tions were enough and said: “We had five to six ses­sions with the pink ball. We have been prac­tic­ing re­ally hard and have had quite long ses­sions, so I think we have enough idea of this ball.”

The West Indies too seemed non-plussed about the prospect and ad­mit­ted that do­mes­tic daynight games were not par­tic­u­larly a hit with the crowds and play­ers.

“I think most of the guys have com­plained about the fact that they’re not re­ally able to pick up the seam that well,” said Windies mid­dle-or­der batsman Dar­ren Bravo. “We played a cou­ple first­class [day-night] games back home, it had a few crowds.

“I don’t know for what­ever rea­son but we can’t do any­thing about it. It is what it is and we need to ac­cept the chal­lenge as quickly as pos­si­ble and just go out there and give it our best shot.

“Most of the guys had their take on it. It had some pos­i­tive feed­back, it had some neg­a­tive feed­back to be hon­est, but what­ever is put in place to en­cour­age a crowd is def­i­nitely ben­e­fi­cial to Test cricket.”

The match will be spe­cial as it’s Pak­istan’s 400th and the Dubai In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium’s and both teams’ first Test un­der lights.

CON­FI­DENT: Pak­istan are favourites to com­plete a clean sweep in the Tests

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