Franks: Tickled pink to
play in Abu Dhabi

Comment and Analysis | 21st April 2011

It was amazing to fly out to play in the season curtain-raiser in Abu Dhabi against the MCC and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The hotel we stayed in was incredible and I think a few of the lads were wide-eyed, especially the young ones like Brett Hutton and Sam Wood. It opened their eyes to the possibilities within the game.

It was also a privilege to be involved in what was an experiment for what could be the future of Test cricket – playing with a pink ball under floodlights.

The ball held up well, but it certainly swung and nipped around off the wicket in our first innings.

It is still a work in progress and the Kookaburra manufacturers were there at the game asking us for our views, which we were happy to give.

Going from batting in the bright light of the day to the twilight and then artificial light was pretty tricky – and I think we suffered for it in our first innings, getting the rough end of the stick.

But the ideas are very much a work in progress because how the ball and the lights work will be very different in England.

Maybe the next step would be for the MCC to hold a similar type of game over here and see how that works.

I'm certainly in favour of what they are trying to do, because the nature of sport is that it evolves and you have to embrace new things.

It is about trying to get people's interest at a different time of the day and people tend to have more time to watch games in the evening.

The key for Test cricket is to always maintain the even battle between bat and ball over five days – or maybe evenings in the future.

Whether the overall concept is quite there yet, I'm not sure.

But the MCC are investing a lot of time and money into it and I hope they are successful in finding a way forward in the long-term.

Paul Franks

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