The MCC is considering introducing fluorescent pink balls to county one-day cricket if trials in university and second XI games are successful, according to a report in The Times. The logic is that a pink ball may be seen more easily, and a fraction earlier, by a batsman than a white one.
The new balls will be tested at Lord's indoor school this winter and will be used in university and 2nd XI matches next year. If scientists at Imperial College, London, can get the balls to keep their colour, they could be used in one-day county cricket next year and even eventually in one-day internationals.
The balls, made by Kookaburra, are already in use in Australia, where they are being tested in women's cricket.
The MCC, which is responsible for the laws of cricket, has been testing different colours for the last year. Its head of cricket, John Stephenson, is responsible for the innovation and he told The Times: "Paint tends to flake off white balls and we have asked Kookaburra to produce a batch of pink ones because these show up so much better.
"The challenge is to produce a ball which retains its colour - I doubt it will be any more expensive to produce or buy. I have asked Mike Gatting, the ECB's managing director of cricket partnerships, to use them in county second XI one-day matches, but we shall start by trying them in fixtures such as MCC v Europe and in the university matches we sponsor.
"My aim would be to use the pink ball in Twenty20 cricket in 2009 and thereafter in one-day international cricket, but this will be dependent on trials and what the ECB thinks."
Scientists will also test the pink balls for television: orange ones used before left a trail in the dark. Gatting added: "We are trying to make cricket a better game for the players and television and have got past looking at it from a traditionalist's view."