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"We're going to have to get used to it": Starc swinging around on pink ball

Cricket

Mitchell Starc is coming around to the pink ball, understanding its high commercial worth but also calling for more progress, saying wickets shouldn’t have to be prepared to protect it.

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November’s mooted day-night Test in Adelaide will likely be a talking point when Australia play South Africa as part of next month’s one-day tri-series in the Caribbean.

Most of the Australian team will fly out on Friday ahead of their opener against the West Indies on June 5, before playing South Africa three times along with any potential final.

Cricket Australia is still attempting to schedule November’s third Test at the Oval with the Proteas as the first of two day-night matches next summer, despite captain AB de Villiers’ outspoken aversion to the pink ball.

South Africa pacemen Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada have also expressed concerns over its fairness given that, unlike Australia, they’re yet to use the pink ball in any kind of competitive match.

Starc led the dissent last year before the first day-night Test against New Zealand at Adelaide Oval, criticising the pink ball’s visibility and saying bowlers “don’t want a ball that’s not going to swing”.

However, as the left-arm quick prepared for his international comeback following a six-month injury layoff, Starc’s opinion had shifted to some extent.

“Obviously, I’ve heard a lot about the chats at the Gabba (against Pakistan in December) and that sort of thing, and I think the Adelaide Test match was a great spectacle and it was probably where it was best suited,” Starc said.

“It they take a little bit of grass off, it would probably last a few more than three days.

“The ball obviously needs a little bit of work but I think it’s in a good place and, as we saw with the amount of people who came along and the viewers at home, it’s obviously here to stay.

“As cricketers, we’re going to have to get used to it.

“It sounds like we’ll hopefully play two Test matches with it this year.

“It’s another challenge for us to get used to that for the Gabba Test.

“But obviously, that Adelaide Test is still up in the air and we’ll see what they’ve got to say about it.”

Starc described the historic Adelaide Test, during which he suffered a stress fracture in his right foot, as a “very good challenge between bat and ball”.

But he thought the extra grass left on Adelaide Oval to stop the pink ball softening was not the way forward, despite it handing bowlers an advantage.

“The reason we play Test cricket is for the challenge and, if you’re going to keep throwing grass on the wicket just to look after a cricket ball, I don’t think that’s true Test cricket,” Starc said.

“I think that the ball has come a long way. I think Kookaburra are doing great things with it, but it’s got to come a little bit further so that we’re not preparing wickets to protect the ball.”

-AAP

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