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Monday, July 3, 2017

spotting pink ball in Cricket ! - colour-blindness !!

It was disappointing for the die-hard Indian fan, as the Team folded without much of fight in Champions trophy finals – debate would rage on whether it was lack of skill, tactics or pure destiny ! – none can deny that we are disappointed !! as the match slipped far and away after that no-ball out of Jasprit Bumrah. Nothing went Indian way after that !!

In the recent times, there was much news in UK about Yorkshire skipper Gary Ballance having to  his side's  County Championship clash against Surrey this season -  reason ?  :  match to be played with a pink ball and Balance is colour-blind.  

The England batsman conceded that  he struggled to see the pink ball when he last player with it a couple of years ago, finding it difficult to differentiate between the ball and the pitch. Ballance was named new Yorkshire skipper ahead of the new season having lost his place in the England Test side.

He succeeded Andrew Gale in the job at Headingley with Gale stepping up to become head coach after the departure of popular Aussie Jason Gillespie. Ballance  reportedly was  in Dubai with his White Rose teammates trying  the pink ball out in the nets before Yorkshire head home.

Colour is simply light of different wavelengths and frequencies and light is just one form of energy that we can actually see that is made up from photons. Colour, is the physical phenomenon of light or visual perception associated with the various wavelengths in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. As a sensation experienced by humans and some animals, perception of colour is a complex neurophysiological process. In science the primary colours are red, green and blue.  However, in art the primary colours are said to be blue, red and yellow and red which is believable as with these colours all other colours can be obtained.  The retinas in our eyes though have three types of colour receptors in the form of cones. We can actually only detect three of these visible colours - red - blue and green. These colours are called additive primaries. It is these three colours that are mixed in our brain to create all of the other colours we see... We can see seven main colours of the Visible Spectrum.

As we know, in Cricket, a sightscreen is used to help the batsman sighting the delivery of the ball from the hands of the bowler – it  also prevents any major distractions from occurring in that direction as the batsman is focusing on the ball.  It would be white for the red cherry and black for coloured balls – what it could be for the experimental pink balls ?   

Sometime back   Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade,  aiming a comeback was in trouble as he  suffers from colour blindness.   Wade has been recalled for the third and the final Test against the Proteas in place of Peter Nevill with Australia being desperate to evade a first-ever clean-sweep on home soil after humiliating defeats in Perth and Hobart. The Victorian gloveman, who was removed from the Test team three years earlier  due to due to shoddy glovework, has admitted that his vision problem makes it difficult for him to play with the pink ball under lights, but expressed confidence of adapting with it. The test at Adelaide against South Africa was to be played in floodlights and with pink ball. 

Most of us share a common colour vision sensory experience. Some people, however, have a color vision deficiency, which means their perception of colours is different from what most of us see. The most severe forms of these deficiencies are referred to as color blindness.  Inherited color blindness is caused by abnormal photopigments. There are three main kinds of color blindness, based on photopigment defects in the three different kinds of cones that respond to blue, green, and red light.

Now comes the news that Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance will feature in the County Championship’s historic round of floodlit matches later this month after having specialist glasses made to improve his vision. Although batting was a concern, the greater issue has been seeing the ball when fielding.

He has declared himself ready to play after several recent practice sessions, and help from Leeds optician Simon Falk, who is providing bespoke lenses to help improve his red/green deficiency and enhance the contrast of the pink against certain backgrounds. The news is not only a boost to a Yorkshire team seeking a third Division One title in four years but also to Ballance’s aspirations of an international recall at a time when Lancashire batting prodigy Haseeb Hameed is struggling for scores.

With England scheduled to play three day-night Tests in the next nine months — including one in the 2017-18 Ashes — the 21-cap left-hander will want to show he can maintain the form that has witnessed a sublime cruise to 727 Championship runs at an average of 103.85 this summer.

Ballance, who was axed from the England Test team for a second time in 15 months last October following a fallow series in Bangladesh, struggled in his only previous match experience using a pink ball for Yorkshire’s second XI three years ago. However, the switch from white to the current black stitching on the balls has made a positive difference and, after trialling five different filtered lenses designed to improve clarity, he has chosen two sets for the glasses to be made up. He will select his preferred pair after further practice under the Headingley floodlights next week.

Few players bat in glasses these days, Marcus Trescothick took to wearing them last year and credited them with a spike in his run-gathering.  In India, Virender Sehwag in his later years wore glasses; Anil Kumble switched to contact lenses after glasses in his earlier years.  Have seen Narendra Hirwani wearing glasses; so did Dilip Doshi and Anshuman Gaekwad.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18th June 2017.

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