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May 13, 2009
The Australian Test umpire, Simon Taufel, believes the pink ball being trialled by MCC could have a future in the game after watching it in action during a match at Lord's on Wednesday.
Taufel stood for ten overs of the contest between MCC and MCC Young Cricketers before flying back to Johannesburg where he will be umpiring in the final stages of the IPL.
"It looked pretty good." Taufel told the lords.org website. "There was a little bit of a comet trail to it but it certainly gave me a lot more information off the pitch and off the seam. My view was you could probably see it better than a white ball.
"Now we have to look at the duration of that ball. Will it last the 80, 90, 100 overs?" he asked. "What's it going to change [for] a swing bowler; or someone who uses shine as a method of competing in the game? Spinners - how do they feel about it? Can they grip the ball because it's not a dye, it's still a lacquer. Does that change the way we'd play Test cricket? That's something I'm conscious of."
Under the current regulations for one-day internationals, there is a mandatory ball-change after 34 overs, mainly due to the discoloration it suffers in the course of an innings. "With this [pink] ball we don't see that problem," said Taufel. "I've seen a ball that's 40 overs, 50 overs old - you don't get the same sort of discoloration. From that perspective, it's certainly a better colour."
As for the prospect of one day umpiring in a day/night Test match, Taufel was open to the possibility. "I think what we have to do is respond to the changing markets that we're seeing," he said. "In some parts of the world we're seeing Test cricket as very alive and flourishing - we're seeing high spectator attendance and high TV ratings.
"But in some parts of the world, with some participants that's not the case. We have to make sure we respond to that feedback. If there are ways we can encourage more people to watch, enjoy and appreciate Test cricket, and that means changing the timing of it, to suit what the market wants - then I think we need to look at that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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