Two day-night Ashes Tests being planned despite opposition from captains
The Ashes begin in November 2017 and will end in January 2018.
Captains Alastair Cook and Steve Smith of England and Australia respectively have raised their displeasure at the prospect of Australia hosting two day-night Ashes Tests. The two captains called for all of the Ashes Tests to be played with the traditional red ball during the day as they had concerns about playing with a pink ball.
Having played two day-night matches, England’s test skipper said: “A lot of the (Ashes) games have really good attendances, so I don’t think that’s a series where you need to do it at this precise moment in time.” He continued: “The biggest problem I have with it is the quality of the pink ball. I don’t mean any disrespect to those making it, but on the two occasions I have played with it, it didn’t behave the same way as the red ball.”
“That is one of the great things about Test cricket, the ball. Sometimes it swings conventionally, sometimes it doesn’t and sometimes it reverses. The pink ball I played with didn’t do anything like that.”
Australian test captain Smith also joined in by saying: “The crowds and the viewers for the regular Ashes Test matches are pretty good.” He further added: “My personal preference probably would be (no day-night Tests against England), yeah." He then said: "I think it (the Ashes) works pretty well with the red ball.
"Playing against England, we always get the viewers and the crowds out, so I don't think there is any issue there.
"There's a bit to be talked about there but it's still a little while away ... we'll just have to wait and see what happens."
However, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said that it would be a “natural progression” for the Ashes to be played with the pink ball, as it could attract much bigger audiences. He said: “We’ve played one day-night Test match and this summer we have two in the schedule, so I think there’s a natural progression for us to get to a point where Ashes Test matches are played as day-night games.”
He continued: “The Ashes series is still a long way off and we want to get through this summer first, but we will play somewhere between zero and two day-night Tests during the Ashes in 18 months’ time.”
Sutherland also spoke how he felt about the views of Smith and Cook, saying: “I respect the views of Steven and Alastair … the Ashes is a great contest and will no doubt attract a huge audience both at the grounds and on television, but the facts of the matter are by playing day-night Tests, we’re going to get even bigger audiences at the game and on television.”
Australia is currently the highest ranked team in test cricket with a rating of 118, while their rivals England placed fourth in the rankings with a rating of 105. They face each other in the Ashes test between November 2017 to January 2018.