Pink-ball stink as Starc not convinced

The Australian fast bowling cartel is not happy.

It has nothing to do with the Ashes, rather Cricket Australia (CA) pushing ahead with the inaugural day-night Test.

There has long been murmurings about player dissent regarding the Adelaide Oval fixture against New Zealand.

But Mitchell Starc has become the first to make a pointed public protest, saying pink balls are a poor imitation of the red Kookaburras and near impossible to see from the boundary.

“We don’t want a ball that’s not going to swing,” said Starc, who featured in the most recent day-night Sheffield Shield round.

“It goes soft pretty quickly … it definitely reacts very, very differently to the red ball.

“Gurinder (Sandhu) swung it a little bit when it was brand new, but not for many overs.

“I don’t know whether it’s the leather or the lacquer – we didn’t see much reverse-swing at all.

“I’m yet to be convinced. I can understand why it’s happening … I guess time will tell to see whether it works or not.”

A candid Starc didn’t stop there.

“I couldn’t see the thing at night on the boundary. I couldn’t see the ball,” he said.

“So I’m not sure how the crowd are going to see it.”

Starc’s comments came as CA chief James Sutherland expressed confidence the ball would be Test-match quality.

The fixture will proceed regardless, but the left-armer’s honesty is a blow to CA’s drive to boost attendances and TV ratings.

The 25-year-old also aired reservations about the fact his bosses were tinkering with a facet of the sport that had been unchanged for almost 140 years.

“Whether you have to start a whole new set of stats for the pink ball, as you do with the red and white ball, I guess it throws up a huge number of questions and theories about where the game is going,” he said.

“(Colourblind) Chris Rogers … he’s not the only player out there who is going to be affected by seeing the ball.”

Mitchell Johnson was more reticent, but it wasn’t hard to gauge his feelings.

“I love the tradition of Test cricket … tradition in the game is very important,” Johnson said.

The way Josh Hazlewood described the pink ball, it sounded more like an injury setback than innovation.

“We’ve got to deal with it as best we can,” Hazlewood said.

Test stars have been guaranteed a Shield game with the pink pill, but Shane Watson made a valid observation regarding the proposed schedule.

“What I’ve heard is after the Bangladesh tour there’s three days at home before they’ve put in a day-night Shield game,” he said.

“The preparation is certainly not going to be ideal.”

It wasn’t all negative feedback from the 17-man squad in England, with future captain Steve Smith proving the most diplomatic.

“It’s pretty exciting that it’s going to be going ahead. Hopefully it’ll bring in the crowds,” Smith said.

“It’s going to be good to try something a little bit different.”

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