Is the pink ball still under review? Cricket umpires’ perceptions of the pink ball for day/night matches

Robert Maguire, Matthew A. Timmis, Luke Wilkins, David L. Mann, Eldre Beukes, Haimisha Parekh, James A. Johnstone, Joshua M. Adie, Derek Arnold, Peter M. Allen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The visibility of the pink ball used in day/night Test cricket has been under scrutiny, with recent research suggesting cricketers find the pink ball less visible at dusk under floodlights. With increasing interest in this match format, this study sought to investigate elite umpires’ opinions pertaining to the visibility of the pink cricket ball during day/night matches. Design: Purposeful sampling of a cross-section of elite umpires with experience adjudicating matches played using a pink cricket ball. Methods: Twenty-seven international/first-class umpires completed a questionnaire consisting of Likert scale and free text responses covering perceptions of the pink cricket ball, with a particular emphasis on visibility. Results: The pink ball when viewed at night under floodlights was rated as being significantly more visible than the red ball during natural lighting (ps < 0.050). Umpires who actively participated in training reported a significantly higher rating of the visibility of the pink ball (mean −3.14) at night under floodlights compared to those who didn't (mean p = 0.010). No significant difference was reported in visibility in natural light or dusk under floodlights. Free text responses (n = 10) revealed the following themes: use of eyewear (coverage 0.30), and adjustment to positioning (coverage 0.20) to improve visibility of the pink ball. Conclusions: Umpires report the visibility of the pink ball is equal to the red in natural light and at dusk but is significantly better at night. Preference for the pink ball is likely due to the predominantly perceptual nature of visual tasks performed by umpires.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1172
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Volume24
Issue number11
Early online date27 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Cricket Australia, The International Cricket Council, and The England and Wales Cricket Board for facilitating distribution of the survey. Thanks also go to all the professional umpires? who kindly gave their time to complete the survey.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Sports Medicine Australia

Keywords

  • Colour
  • Cricket
  • Lighting
  • Performance
  • Safety
  • Visual perception

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