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Australia and New Zealand set to play first day-night Test next year

KS
ANALYST
Modified 30 Jun 2014, 11:42 IST
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Day-night Tests with the pink ball may soon become a reality

Despite the concerns from players after the usage of pink-ball in domestic first-class matches in Sheffield Shield, Australia and New Zealand are likely to play the first day-night Test match in November 2015 following the conversation between two cricket boards.

Adelaide and Hobart are likely to be the venues for the inaugural day-night Test match. Day-night Tests will continue to take place in this season’s Sheffield Shield matches as well. While some players expressed satisfaction over the pink-ball in Sheffield Shield season last summer, some had problems in seeing it and it seems that the pink ball loses its swing a lot quicker.

However, Cricket Australia’s chief James Sutherland felt that despite the usage of pink-ball, the scores were consistent in the rest of the season. He, however, accepted that pink-ball is unlikely to behave like red-ball.

"What we learnt from that last year is that there are no really obvious reasons why we shouldn't be continuing to progress with our intent around day-night Test match," Sutherland was quoted by ESPNCricinfo. "We're certainly very excited about the concept and we're serious about really properly pushing ahead now. The pink ball, just like the white ball, doesn't behave exactly the same as the red ball. But ... the ball is the same for both teams. What we were pleased about was that in looking at the Shield results from this round that we played, the statistics in terms of runs and wickets were very much on par with average for the whole Shield season last year. There weren't any rogue behaviours.

"I don't think we're ever going to get to a stage where everyone is completely satisfied or comfortable with it. If we go back 30-odd years in time when the first ever day-night one-day internationals were played, I'm sure there was that same level of trepidation that some stakeholders including players might have had about day-night one-day cricket and white balls."

Day night Tests will also mean a boost in revenue for Cricket Australia. With the traditional Tests – Boxing Day Tests and New Year’s Tests – at Melbourne and Sydney are not be affected by this change, the target audience for the board is the working population which can watch the matches after office hours in other Tests. However, Sutherland maintained that it was not a purely money-driven move.

"Players are often quite concerned about changes in the way the game is played," he said. "That creates an all-the-more-important reason for us to consult with them so they understand where we're going and why it is. Whilst there may be some trepidation or concern about the pink ball and what impact it has on the game itself, I think it's really important that we continue to keep the big picture in mind and understand that in certain parts of the world the game of Test cricket is not as strong as it once was.

“If there are things we can do to enhance Test cricket to make it more popular, then that needs to be our ultimate aim. The last thing we want is to see Test cricket withering on the vine.”

New Zealand’s Cricket Chief Executive David White has said that New Zealand were ready to give the green-signal for day-night Test cricket following his discussions with Sutherland. "Since Test cricket was played in 1877 there have been significant changes, covered pitches, day limits, fielding restrictions, introduction of helmets, change of ball etc," White said. "I think as administrators we must keep evolving, improving the game and improving it for our stakeholders. We've got to be mindful of change but keep an open mind. "I've spoken to the players and we've said once the trial [in New Zealand] is over and if they're satisfied we'll put it to them. The consultation with the players is key, we're very conscious of that."

Published 30 Jun 2014, 10:42 IST
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