On Thursday evening Nottinghamshire’s players visited the Sheikh Zayed Stadium for the first time. The county champions are in Abu Dhabi at the invitation of the MCC to play the traditional curtain-raiser to the English domestic season.
As also happened last year, this fixture has now been transported three and a half thousand miles from it’s spiritual home, Lord’s and is now being played as a day / night match using a newly-designed pink Kookaburra ball.
Apart from giving both sides some guaranteed outdoor practice in hot conditions there is also great emphasis on trialling this ball under lights with a view to it being suitable for floodlit Test cricket in the not-too-distant-future.
Whether Nottinghamshire’s bowlers will welcome more than an occasional introduction to ‘pinky’ remains to be seen. In supposedly ideal conditions at Trent Bridge last week all of the seamers found it extremely unresponsive to any form of sideways movement, either off the wicket or through the air.
Alas, even with a greatly improved air temperature the ball refused to wobble around for messrs Franks, Shreck, Fletcher, Mullaney and Ball during a 2-hour session.
“It’s fair to say they’ve all struggled to get this particular ball to move around”, said Wayne Noon, overseeing this tour, with Director of Cricket Mick Newell in the Caribbean with the England Lions. “It looks like this might be a match to suit the batters but we’re just feeling it’s a privilege to be here to play in this prestigious fixture.”
Notts will net again on both Friday and Saturday before beginning the 4-day match on Sunday at 2.30pm local time.
Dave Bracegirdle will provide ball-by-ball commentary on Nottinghamshire's County Champions match against MCC on behalf of BBC Radio Nottingham.