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Red ball and whites is a step back for Bermuda

ICC 50 over new playing conditions Law 5.2 states, “The umpires shall retain possession of the match ball(s) throughout the duration of the match when play is not actually taking place. During play umpires shall periodically and irregularly inspect the condition of the balls and shall retain possession of them at the fall of a wicket, a drinks interval, or any other disruption in play. Each fielding team shall have two new balls for its innings, to be used in alternate overs, i.e. one from each end”.

Based on this rule one would think that our domestic cricket would be changing to this format, however, we are changing but not to this format. Instead we will be reverting back to white clothing and a red ball, dismissing the modern day traditional coloured clothing and white ball. ICC has passed regulations to improve the game suggesting that two brand new white balls be used at the beginning of a game, rather than one. Each umpire will have a new ball and after the over is bowled at his end he will hold onto the ball, while the other ball is then used at the other end. This means only 25 overs will be bowled with each ball. The reason for the change by the ICC is due to the white ball losing its colour and hardness much quicker than what used to occur when we used the red ball.

The Bermuda clubs, in an effort to cut costs on the purchasing of the white balls have come together and agreed to revert back to the red ball and whites, as the red ball would last for the entire 50 over game. Using the red ball could result in as much as a $1,000 savings. Many players are disturbed by this as they feel it is a massive step backwards. Is the cost savings on the ball going to adversely cost us in the development of our game?

Here are some opinions on the controversial topic.

Janeiro Tucker: Going back to whites and red ball is a step way back. I think if we are trying to better our national programme we should continue to follow international levels. All other countries are moving forward with their domestic game and we are not, yet we wonder why we continue with poor results. We as a cricket fraternity need to make better cricket decisions. Come on people let's move this game forward, we have not moved since World Cup 2007, what a shame.

Andre Manders: In these economic times I can see clubs struggling with white balls and uniforms being so expensive. Personally I would like to see some matches played with white balls, maybe 20/20 matches. Simply because we play international matches with white balls and have very important division three matches next year. It's not a step backwards because we can improve our young players playing with a red ball, for competitions such as Intercontinental Cup, Cup Match, and Eastern Counties.

Lorenzo Tucker: Due to the economic times changing to the red ball to save clubs money is not a bad idea. The red balls are cheaper and there was talk of using two white balls this year per game which would have doubled the cost per match. The downside is that moving back to white clothing in my opinion takes away from the attractiveness of the game as the coloured clothing highlighted the competition. It was easy for people passing by to identify who was playing who. Another issue may be for those clubs who have already invested recently into coloured clothing - they now have coloured clothing that they have paid for that is of no use to them - well at least for this season.

Malachi Jones: As Bermuda look to improve, going back to whites and a red ball is like taking 10 steps backwards. Early next year our national team has Division 3 qualifiers that will be played in coloured clothes and white balls, so what should be an advantage (playing league cricket in coloured clothes) is now going to be a disadvantage (whites and red ball). Approach from batsmen and bowlers will have to be different. A white ball 50 over score might be 270-300 runs, whereby a red ball score may be 230-250. The red ball has proven to swing for longer periods making scoring that much more difficult.

Lewis Foggo: I don't think going to whites is a step backwards, it might be going against the ICC regulations for 50 over cricket, nothing new though as we haven't always abided by their regulations in our domestic leagues. The standard of our cricket is presently at the lowest that I can ever remember, so it's only one way to go and that's forward, regardless if its whites or colours. However, if white clothing is going to help clubs save some money, than by all means play in whites.

Lionel Cann: It's unfortunate that the economic times have caused this change. I feel that all top games should be played in coloured clothing and by the new rules as it is the last step before international cricket. When times get better all cricket should be played by the news rules. The red ball swings more and longer, therefore local bowlers can get false satisfaction.

Some of you may think who cares if it is a white ball, red ball, white clothes, or coloured clothes, cricket is cricket. It is played the same with the same mentality and approach. However, our modern day game has changed so much that it is in fact a vast difference. As you can see from the comments the red ball is a lot more difficult to bat against, hence giving the bowlers greater assistance. Is this the preparation we want to give our national squad players prior to Division3 qualifiers, early next year? Qualification next year is the single most important factor that we should be concentrating on. It is imperative that we give our players the right tools to be successful. Many feel our domestic season should be solely geared around how that tournament will be played with the white ball and coloured clothing.

The clubs and their view on the cost factor is a valid one, as it relates to their bottom line, but the clubs also have a responsibility in helping to revive the sport. For too long, clubs have relied on bar sales to sustain their viability. The time has come to raise funds through different means, which requires the executives and members within the clubs to work towards fund raising efforts to subsidize their programmes. Some of the clubs have sponsors for this very purpose, but there are many who don't and continue to struggle to finance their sporting programmes.

As we are not required to follow rule 5.2 in our domestic league, then there seems to be little or no benefit in switching to the red ball. As we have the choice to choose our own format in our domestic league we are better off following the way we played with the white ball last year, by changing the ball in the 35th over with a used, cleaner, white ball. At least we will be playing with the same type of ball that will be used in international competitions and it doesn't cost the clubs any additional funding. That's the least we can do to support our national sport!

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Published April 20, 2012 at 9:00 am (Updated April 20, 2012 at 9:07 am)

Red ball and whites is a step back for Bermuda

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