Talk about a cricketing novelty: the Pakistan cricket board has decided to hold the final of the country's premier first class tournament with balls of an unusual colour - pink! Thus the cricketing fraternity's strange proclivity for this colour continues.
First, pink was the colour of the West Indies team's uniform during the first limited overs encounter against Auatralia under floodlights, in the mid 1970s. Then at Glenn McGrath's behest, almost the whole of the Sydney Cricket Ground turned pink as a gesture supporting the fast bowler's foundation for breast cancer victims. And now, to top it off, pink cricket balls at a floodlit National Stadium in Karachi for the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy!
The finalists, Pakistan International Airlines and Habib Bank Limited, will meet on Jan 13 at the venue for the five-day final after having jointly topped the Division One table, tied on 57 points.
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt announced that the move to use pink-coloured balls was aimed at improving the standard of the domestic game in the country. "This innovation is in line with the initiatives that the PCB has been taking to improve the standard of the domestic game in Pakistan," Butt said in a statement.
The total prize money for the final is Rs.1.75 million, with the winner taking home Rs.1 million. So the players would certainly not be seeing red over a pink ball!
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the sport's oldest club, has been experimenting with the pink ball in various matches to avoid problems with the colour flaking off the white ball. An English county match between MCC and Durham was played with a pink ball in Abu Dhabi last year.