Former Tipperary star Shane McGrath is cool on the prospect of yellow sliotars being introduced to hurling, believing they are unnecessary, except in extreme weather conditions.
It emerged yesterday that the GAA is set to approve the introduction of a luminous, standardised 'smart' ball for next year's hurling Championships, replacing the traditional white ball.
"I think there is a time and a place for yellow sliotars and that's if a game is being played under lights," the 2010 All-Ireland winner told 2fm's Game On.
"If the conditions are really foggy or snowy, there is a time for a yellow sliotar there.
"But for me I don’t think hurling should be played under lights. It’s one of the fastest if not the fastest field game in the world.
"Maybe I’m just a traditionalist. It's not broken, why do we have to fix it? Leave the white sliotar, they’re doing fine.
"I know Tennis changed it back in 1986, that was for TV reasons. But Roger Federer is serving the ball at something like 140mph. In hurling the ball is travelling around 95mph. There is a difference.
"The speed that a baseball travels at, those balls are white and people manage to keep their eye on them.
"Definitely trial it in the League, under lights in the heavy weather conditions, but for me I feel we’ll still be using the white sliotar in Championship."
Former Cork goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack has been an enthusiastic proponent of changing the colour of the sliotar but in a Twitter poll run by RTÉ Sport earlier this year, a majority agreed with McGrath that yellow balls should only be used under lights.
As well as a luminous colour that is expected to improve visibility for crowds and TV viewers, the new ball, produced by Kilkenny company Greenfields Digital Sports Technology, is expected to provide data for statistics and score-detection via the embedded microchip.
But one of the biggest advantages being touted is the move towards standardisation. As it stands, a number of officially licensed sliotars exist, with teams being able to nominate their preferred brand before games.
Though McGrath laughs at the idea of umpires scanning sliotars with an app to determine their authenticity pre-puuckout -"What if the iphone battery dies?!" - he does tell an anecdote that suggests a standard ball could level the playing field.
"I remember one year Eoin Kelly telling me that he went to take a penalty against Cork. There had been lovely sliotars the whole way during the match.
"Next thing, Donal Óg produced this sliotar that could only be described as something that was after spending three to five years in a bog somewhere. He could barely rise the ball, let alone hit it.
"They are all advantages that people use. It will be very hard to police as people will find ways around it."
At a time when players scoring points from their own half has become common, another recurring debate is whether the ball is now too light.
The current weight of a sliotar is between 110g and 120g and the standardised ball is expected to fall within this range.
McGrath points to the bigger bas (face of the hurl) now commonly employed, despite contravening GAA regulations, as a factor in the greater range, while the use of more flexible man-made polyurethane rubbers in the core also helps the ball to travel.
"The old-school hurlers might say you never see anyone scoring from 80 yards but John Fenton caught that ball fair sweet off the ground and he was 50 or 60 yards out when he scored that unbelievable goal. Maybe we just have more John Fentons now," mused McGrath.
"The style of the hurley people are using now as well, it's a bigger bas, you’re going to get a sweeter strike off the ball.
"It’s not the players fault nowadays that 60 years ago, people weren’t using the big bas.
"Are we punishing the skill of the players now that they can hit the ball 100 yards? Don’t punish players for being more skilful or having better tools to work with it in regards to their hurleys.
"The game is in a good place. It’s not boring or slow-tempo, far from it."