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Pink ball – a ‘catalyst’ to save Test cricket: Dean Jones

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Kolkata, June 16: Former Australian all-rounder Dean Jones feels the pink-ball will be a ‘catalyst’ that will help Test cricket survive and will eventually be accepted by the players and the audience.

"When the first ever day-night one-day was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) a lot of players said how they could not pick the ball under lights. But they had to adapt to it," Jones said an an event here on Thursday, where he was flanked by Indian legends Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman.

"Now the lights have massively improved and pink ball cricket will be a reality everywhere. Pink ball is here to stay. It is a matter of getting used to it." 

"It is not that pink-ball will save Test cricket but it will be a catalyst," he added.

Jones said the first ever day-night Test which was held at Adelaide last November between Australia and New Zealand witnessed huge footfall and believes the new innovation will be a success.

"The Test was brilliant. On an average there are 1.8 million followers of an Australian Test match. But during the day-nighter there were 3.7 million followers,” Jones said.

Laxman, who had played a stupendous innings of 281 in a Test against Australia at the Eden Gardens some 15 years back, said there is nothing like playing in front of a packed stadium.

“We want bigger crowds to come in. There is no bigger satisfaction than performing in front of a packed stadium,” Laxman said.

Speaking about the negativity surrounding pink-ball cricket the former Hyderabad batsman said, ”It is all in the mind. Once you tell the mind there’s a challenge you need to overcome, you can do it.”

“In 1998 we were scheduled to play a Test match in New Zealand. But the first four days were washed off. So during the fifth day we played a One-Day match for the crowd with the red ball under lights. We did not have any problems.”

Laxman however, is not too sure about the Kookaburra pink-ball’s longevity as the grounds in the subcontinent are harder and balls get scuffed up easily.

“It is not Australia and because of the hardness of the ground here the ball would not last as long as it does normally. The red Kookaburra lasted just 20 overs when we played with it. But is a challenge,” he remarked. 

Laxman also said the colour of the ball might change but the basics of Test cricket will remain the same. 

Jones further said that he wanted to see an even contest between the bat and ball with the pink ball swinging and spinning more.

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