Pakistan to play premier domestic final with pink balls

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2011, 09:19 AM IST

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has planned to hold the final of the country`s premier first-class tournament under floodlights and with pink balls at the National Stadium here.

While the country`s cricket bosses are hailing their own decision as a historic one, several former players have questioned the idea of carrying out the experimentation in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the most prestigious domestic cricket event in the country.

The finalists, Pakistan International Airlines and Habib Bank Limited, will meet at the National Stadium in Karachi January 13 for the five-day final after jointly topping the Division One table, tied on 57 points.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt announced that the step is 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.

Another top PCB official said that if successful, the board can opt to implement it on a broader scale starting next season.

"The success of this event will bode well for our domestic structure as it could have positive implications for holding matches during the summers in Pakistan," said Javed Miandad, former Pakistan captain and current director general of the PCB.

The total prize money for the final is Rs.1.75 million, with the winner taking home Rs.1 million.

"The new playing format is expected to herald a major change in the domestic cricket structure as it would be the first time that day-night cricket will be used in the longer version of the game and it will be played with a pink ball," PCB said in a statement.

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the sport`s oldest club which is also the guardian of the laws of the game, has been experimenting with the pink ball in various matches to avoid problems with the colour flaking off the white ball, normally used in limited overs matches since 1978.

An English county match between MCC and Durham was played with a pink ball in Abu Dhabi last year. The MCC concluded that some work was still required to continue with the pink ball in domestic matches.