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News - 18th March 2012

Keedy in favour of pink ball trial

Keedy in favour of pink ball trial

Left-arm spinner Gary Keedy believes playing with the pink ball under lights in first-class cricket is "an experiment well worth doing".

Keedy, who played for the MCC against Championship winners Nottinghamshire in Abu Dhabi last year, is in line to face them in a Lancashire shirt on March 27 as the curtain is raised on the 2012 county season.

Keedy and 16 team-mates fly out to the United Arab Emirates tomorrow for their eleven-day pre-season tour - and he can't wait.

"I enjoyed it last year," said the 37 year-old. "It will be nice to play against them this year. Any chance to get outdoors at this time of year is good for you. It worked well for me last year."

Captain Glen Chapple leads a squad minus Jimmy Anderson and overseas signing Ashwell Prince, but new fast bowler Naqaash Tahir will board the plane after signing a one-year deal last week.

There are seven days of cricket scheduled, also including a two-day match against the MCC Young Cricketers (March 21) and a Twenty20 tournament involving the MCC, Sussex and Durham (March 23).

The Red Rose will come up against former overseas player Sourav Ganguly and fellow Indian Rahul Dravid in the Twenty20 semi-final as both will play for the MCC at Dubai's Sevens Stadium.

"I think we can make it work strongly for us," said coach Peter Moores of the forthcoming tour. "It is what you do with the opportunity.

"One of the best things about last year when we stayed here instead of going on pre-season tour is that it was different. Again, Abu Dhabi is different for us. We know the bowlers will have the advantage of some decent match practice.

"When we come back, we will have the match against Cambridge University and a bit of time to work on things before our first County Championship match against Sussex. The trip will help put miles in the legs of the players."

Keedy, Lancashire's leading wicket-taker in last summer's Championship winning campaign, played alongside Stephen Moore in the 2011 four-day champion county fixture.

Although normal first-class rules apply, the clash will be played under lights and with a pink ball against the MCC, this year captained by Surrey's former England batsman Mark Ramprakash.

"I'm sure we'll have a meeting about playing with the pink ball," continued Keedy, who has been netting with a red one at Old Trafford with his colleagues since arriving back from his spell of Twenty20 cricket in Bangladesh last month.

"Moorey will probably talk about how it is for the batsmen and me with the bowling side. For me, it's just the same as the white Kookaburra ball."

The whole idea of pink ball at night is an MCC and ICC-led initiative to see whether Test cricket would work at that time of day. This will be it's third year of use in this fixture, while Kent and Glamorgan played a dead Championship Division Two match at the end of last summer in the same conditions at Canterbury.

"It's an experiment well worth doing," added Keedy. "But I don't think it would work in England if I'm honest.

"I think they're aiming more at the sub-continent and trying to get crowds back into Test cricket. If that's one way of doing it, it's certainly worth having a look at."

The fixture takes place at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the scene of England's recent second Test defeat against Pakistan, who were indebted to the spin of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman.

The pair took 15 wickets between them, while 30 of the 40 wickets in the match fell to spin.  If conditions are similar for Lancashire's outing, Keedy could be in for a busy four days. 

Graham Hardcastle
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC


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