WHITE ball cricket, played in coloured clothing and out of black sightscreens, could be introduced into top flight 50-over element of ECB Southern Premier Division next season.

Players are currently being canvassed by the Premier League management on a proposal to bring Saturday afternoon recreational cricket into line with the professional game.

But coloured clothing would be restricted to the limited-overs format – with the all-day ‘time’ cricket unaffected and continued to be played on a traditional basis, in ‘whites’ and with a red ball.

If the white ball initiative gets the go-ahead – and it is believed many club players, particularly the younger element, are in favour - the SPL will be re-branded in time for the arrival of a potential new sponsor next summer.

Southern Electric, whose 14-year backing has been synonymous with local Premier League, will be ending their sponsorship at the end of this season.

Tom Morton, who has led South Wilts to a record breaking fourth successive Premier Division, is among the captains backing the idea.

“Coloured clothing/white ball cricket changes the dynamics of games in a positive way and will raise the profile of our competition,” he said.

“Being a pioneering initiative it will attract extra interest and I’m sure would get more people in to watching matches.

“Coloured kits could also provide an effective marketing tool to bring in extra income with clubs having the opportunity to attract potential shirt sponsors, etc.”

Morton is heavily involved in the Southampton Solent University cricket programme where all matches in the British Universities Competition are played, like in the county one-day game, with white cricket balls and in pyjama-style kit.

Hampshire Academy manager Bobby Parks endorsed Morton’s view.

“I think the idea of coloured clothing is excellent and moves us firmly into the 21st century.

“The clothing trends set by the counties should be closely followed and a good balance of types of cricket should be played, ie twenty20, 50-over and all-day declaration cricket,” he said.

Teenager Harry Hovey, one of the Hampshire Under-17 ECB county championship winning heroes from Arundel last week, is also ‘buzzing’ at the prospect.

“I play my cricket at Havant Park, smack in the middle of the town centre.

“Seeing teams in coloured kit smacking a white ball about would create a lot of interest.”

St Cross Symondians opener Tom Foyle enthused: “I’m massively up for white ball cricket. It will be amazing.”

But not everyone is in favour.

Lymington captain Simon Beetham said “neither I nor the club want to play white ball cricket".

“With a side full of seamers and a club that has little depth of spinners, we would not like to see the red ball used for only half the games.

“The white balls (and the orange ones we use for t20 cup ties) do not swing consistently and cannot be maintained like the red ball.”

He has also raised issues over black sight-screens.

Morton responded saying: “I would also have this concern with South Wilts having four seamers, but generally I feel the positives behind this initiative far outweigh the negatives, all of which are very manageable.”

The Premier League, who has been assessing likely costings, plans to submit the findings of the player poll to their early autumn meeting of Premier Division captains and chairmen.