History in making: Dubai to host Asia’s first day-night Test

Pakistan, West Indies brace for momentous occasion as series begins tomorrow

Fawad Hussain October 12, 2016
The efficacy of the pink ball and its visibility remain a challenge as various players pointed out after the warm-up game between PCB Patrons XI and West Indies, but organisers are confident visibility would not be an issue. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Dubai Cricket Stadium will become the first cricketing ground in Asia to host a day-night Test when Pakistan and the West Indies lock horns for a pink-ball battle, with the first of the three-match series commencing tomorrow.

The historic game will also mark Pakistan’s 400th Test match, making it a momentous occasion.

With momentum on their side, the Misbahul Haq-led team enters the Test series as favourites against Jason Holder’s West Indies, having earlier whitewashed their Caribbean counterparts in both the limited-over formats.

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The pink-ball Test made its debut last year when Australia faced New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval and the experiment was deemed as a resounding success.

However, the efficacy of the pink ball and its visibility remain a challenge as various players pointed out after the three-day warm-up game between Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Patrons XI and the West Indies in Sharjah this week.

“The outcome remains to be seen but there is no harm in experimentation,” said Pakistan Cricket Board chief selector Inzamamul Haq during a press conference in Karachi earlier this week. “I am very excited about the day-night Test and hope it will be a huge success.”

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Meanwhile, former chief selector Mohsin Khan echoed Inzamam’s views.

“When coloured kits were introduced in ODI cricket similar questions were raised but eventually it turned out to be a success,” said Mohsin. “It is a positive initiative and we should back it.”

The 61-year-old also hoped the Men in Green would mark the ‘historic’ occasion of playing their 400th Test with a win. “It’s going to be a historic occasion and I hope Pakistan can win. Misbah’s men are entering the series as favourites and should live up to the tag,” he added.

Mohsin also went on to praise coach Mickey Arthur’s impact. “Arthur is doing a fantastic job and is grooming future leaders. This will have a profound effect on the state of Pakistan cricket.”

Lighting won’t be an issue: PCB official

Responding to questions about the visibility of the pink ball, a PCB official revealed that organisers at the Dubai Cricket Stadium are confident that visibility would not be a concern, especially with the ‘ring of fire’, the light on the periphery of the stadium’s top, giving more light than the levels experienced in previous international matches.

“The Ring of Fire lighting facility is unique and we are sure that the lighting will make the players comfortable,” Usman Wahla, PCB’s General Manager told reporters in Dubai.

Pink ball doing well for Yasir

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who will be eyeing his 100th Test scalp during the series, is happy with the turn and bounce he got from the pink ball.

“Initially, it was difficult to grip the ball but, after some practice, I am getting more bounce and turn than the red ball,” said Yasir. “I am confident of doing well in the game. I will do my best to complete my century of wickets as I just need five more dismissals.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2016.

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