New ball may have us tickled pink now
ANDREW Symonds used to reckon that any of the batsmen who played in the era back in the late 1990s when cricket trialled a liquorice all sorts of ball colours deserved to have an extra five or 10 runs added to their career averages.
And that went the same for the bowlers too, who dined out on night Sheffield Shield playing conditions that featured heavily lacquered orange, yellow and lime balls which swung like unsecured gates in a stiff breeze.
It wasn't easy then for the poor old batsman, and there would no doubt be a few blokes around Australian cricket who would probably agree that the bad old days were here again after the most recent round of day/night Shield cricket just concluded with some definitive outright results.
But here's the thing - the MkII pink ball was a vast improvement on last year and the growing acceptance by players of it as a genuine alternative to the white and red balls we normally use could well see Australia host the first ever day/night Test matches sometime in the near future.
While I was away with the Aussie T20 team, the Bulls come off second best to the Warriors in Perth.
We did have some testing moments during the twilight when things are supposedly hardest for the batsman, but overall the boys identified that poor shot selection and some impatience at the crease were the biggest source of our downfall.
Being away also meant I didn't come up against "Cranky Ryano" (Ryan Harris) - the Aussie quick did not enjoy his own performance in a Futures League 2nd XI game and being the world's hardest marker on himself, was in a thoroughly filthy mood for a few days.
Luckily for me, he was back to "happy Ryano" when I got back to training - which meant I just had to deal with him bowling swinging rockets now that he was feeling more in control of things. But at least he had a smile as he pinged them past me.
Now we're all pretty keen to see that sort of skill unleashed against the NSW Blues at the Gabba from Sunday when Ryano makes his comeback from injury.
Two Shield losses isn't a disaster, but we would all like to get a home win under out belt to give the front half of the season a bit of a brighter look.
Personally, I am back looking to score off the red ball, having missed the pink experiment.
Here's hoping I and the rest of the Bulls see red in the best possible way.