Mahela Jayawardene expresses concerns over feasability of pink-ball cricket
The Sri Lankan legend called on the ICC to provide a meaningful context to bilateral series as means to ensure survival of Test cricket.
Pink-ball cricket has definitely been on the rise with more and more teams experimenting with it in domestic circuit with the prospect of familiarising their top players with the new ball as Day-Night Tests starts becoming a reality. It may be a hit with the fans but many players have raised various concerns about the pink ball, in its present form and former Sri Lanka cricketer Mahela Jayawardene has jumped on the bandwagon citing its unsuitability on grassy surfaces as well as matches held in the subcontinent.
“The first-ever day-night Test match in Adelaide late last year was certainly well-supported,” Jayawardene wrote in his column in SportsStar. “By all accounts, spectators let their hair down and enjoyed themselves. However, for the players, the cricket was brutally tough on a grassy pitch and the game lasted just three days.
“And that, in a nutshell, is the problem for day-night cricket: bowlers will run amok as they exploit difficult night-time conditions on pitches that have extra grass.”
Pakistan and India are two Asian nations who are scheduled to play Day-night Tests later this year with the former slated to play against West Indies in the UAE in September while India are set to face New Zealand either in September or October in a day-night affair.
The BCCI got their preparations under way by staging the final of Cricket Association if Bengal’s super League final at the Eden Gardens as a day-night game while the PCB have also scheduled a number of their matches in the Quad-e-Azam trophy in a similar fashion.
Jayawardene, however, believes the amount of dew that crops during day-night matches will be a big problem, especially in the longer format of the game. He feels the bowlers will be at an undue advantage and wants to see modifications done to the pink ball before it can be put to use in the subcontinent pitches.
“This is a particularly problematic issue for Asian countries keen to introduce the concept,” he pointed out. “Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh all face serious problems with the dew at night. This is manageable in one-day cricket – although it still often unfairly disadvantages one team – but will be a huge issue for Test cricket.
“If combined with the grassy pitches, the dew will create treacherous conditions and wickets will tumble.
“The only countries where I can see day-night working reasonably well would be Australia, South Africa and England where dew is not severe. If the ball can be improved a little more, then perhaps we can see some good cricket.”
Day-night Tests are seen as the future of the longest format of the game as it struggles to sustain a sizeable audience with the highly popular T20 format proving to be everyone’s cup of tea. The Sri Lankan legend though believes that adding significance to the now meaningless bilateral tours is all that is needed for the survival of Test cricket.
“What is far more important in terms of Test cricket’s survival, is giving the format proper context and end the current method of bilateral scheduling,” he added.