Opinions divided over the pink ball in Shield cricket
HASN'T the pink ball got a few people stirred up.
At the time of writing, I'm deep into the Queensland Bulls Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at the fabled Melbourne Cricket Ground and we're doing very nicely with it, thank you.
But having batted against it on the first night of the match, I can see why it has sharply divided opinions among the cricketing community.
Personally, I didn't have a lot of trouble with it at night, although there were moments during the day when I was watching from the stands when I had a few issues picking it up. But that can happen with a red ball or a white ball as well.
Some players like it better than others, and I can imagine the conversations around lunchroom tables and in hotel lobbies will centre firmly on the pros and cons of using the pink ball by the time the Adelaide Test comes around where it will be used in the first day/night Test.
The pitch has as much to do with the ball and visibility anyway.
At Manuka Oval in Canberra the flat track can chew up a red ball like a bored pig dog, while a pink ball at the Gabba can hold its colour and shape pretty well through the 80 overs.
The MCG drop-in pitches are usually pretty bland and hard work for the bowlers, so little wonder the Victorians felt the pink ball might contribute to boring cricket.
But it would be the same if we were using a red ball.
Anyway, batsmen around the country found a way to score runs (well, most of them), and the bowlers did what they had to as well.
Our bonus ex-Blue, "Stealthy" Scott Henry slipped under the radar to score a fine hundred on debut for Queensland, and then some big centuries yesterday in the Shield matches and three-day tour game against the Kiwis showed the pink ball is more a princess than an ogre when you get set and get your eye in.
The fact Australia is at the Gabba using a red ball next week is very much in our favour.
The Gabba pitch can be challenging on a good day; usually bouncy, often fast, sometimes slower, sometimes flatter.
Throw in some overhead cloud and hot and humid conditions and it can become very tough for a touring side to adjust, no matter how well prepared they are.
A quick wrap for two of our older stagers - James Hopes brought up 5000 career first-class runs in his 100th career game (and 97th for the Bulls) and Chris Hartley notched up 5000 Sheffield Shield runs.