KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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MCC Head Coach Mark Alleyne has declared his support for the pink cricket ball after his MCC Young Cricketers (YCs) played in an experimental match in Abu Dhabi.
Alleyne watched as his side were comprehensively beaten in a three day, day/night match against a combined MCC Universities side (opens in a new window).
The game was played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, where MCC will take on Nottinghamshire in the County Champion match starting Sunday 27 March.
That game, for the second consecutive season, will be played with the pink ball as a day/night match as MCC explore the possibility of day/night Test cricket.
All for pink
Alleyne, who played ten One Day Internationals for England, could find no fault with the performance of the pink ball.
"There’s no area where we can criticise the pink balls behaviour and hardness retention at all." said the 42-year-old.
"Over here the ball swung a bit but not excessively and maintained its shape and shine throughout.
"I’ve got a couple of balls which are 93 overs old and yes the seam is a bit flat but we can still bowl with it and the colour is great.
"I think the pink ball is a good ball for first class cricket. I’m all for the pink ball."
MCC also took on the MCCUs in a second trial of 5ives cricket, a new form of the game created by South African Dick Wood.
The two sides took part in an inaugural trial of the format in September 2010 at Radlett CC.
Alleyne admitted the game, which sees teams bat alternatively in sets of five or ten overs, offers a big challenge to the traditional cricketing set-up.
But despite his original reservations, the former Gloucestershire all-rounder thinks the new format has a future.
He added: "I think 5ives is a little bit different and does challenge the history of the game a little bit with all the changeovers.
"That was my main concern - that the change overs would affect the flow of the game a little bit but that turned out to be the least of the concerns. They were smooth and almost as quick as a normal bowling change.
"The 10 overs split worked well. Having batted for ten overs as a batsman I’m not that keen on starting again but that’s just a personal preference.
"But I think it’s a nice, well thought through concept and it has a future."
Despite a disappointing time on the pitch for the new YC squad, Alleyne said the ten-day trip - where they also took on an Emirates Development XI - had been a great start to the 2011 campaign.
"This trip has been very beneficial to the young players and to myself." he said.
"It was the first time seeing a few of them play outside and as a unit and I’ve learned a lot about them as players.
"In terms of preparation it has been perfect."