Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 2nd day December 2, 2011

Sutherland questions bad light call

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James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, has questioned the bad light call that ended day two of the first Test against New Zealand at 4.38pm local time with blue sky still visible above the Gabba.

A crowd of 11,103 and a far larger television audience was staggered when the umpires Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf led the players from the field, ostensibly because their light meters were showing the same reading that had called play off early on day one minutes before a storm engulfed the ground.

Rauf told ABC radio that "it looks brighter than yesterday but we have to follow the light meter", but Sutherland was as miffed as many other observers and said the decision had shown little regard for spectators, who seem less likely to support Test cricket the more often such decisions are made. Sutherland said: "Cricket needs to be looking after fans as our first priority, we need to work harder to give them more, not less".

A CA spokesman said Sutherland also intended to take the matter further.

"James Sutherland intends to take up the 'bad light' issue with the ICC, and will argue that cricket needs to take better care of putting fans first," the spokesman said. "Sutherland has spoken to the match referee [Andy Pycroft] tonight to understand bad light decision, respects their decision but wants ICC review."

Nathan Lyon, the Australian offspinner, said there was frustration among the players as well as spectators under current regulations that take the matter of bad light out of the hands of the two teams and entirely at the discretion of the umpires.

"It's certainly frustrating that's for sure," he said. "But saying that it is difficult to pick the ball up, especially when it is overcast and it is dark and I know it's frustrating for all the players. But it comes down to players' safety and at the end of the day it is only cricket, but certainly frustrating."

New Zealand's spinner Daniel Vettori reckoned there would always be complaints about bad light, irrespective of who had the power to decide on continuing play.

"When it was the other way people complained about that, now it's this way people complain about this, it's just the way it is," he said. "They set a number for the game yesterday and it reached that, so they have to be consistent. It is different when you're fielding to when you're batting, so yesterday it got really dark and it got tough to see, if the light was exactly the same as that it would've been tough to see."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 3, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    There must be continuity in the decisions by the umpires; taking last day's call into play the umpires have done the correct thing!

  • on December 3, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Sutherland should have the rules changed rather taking his anger on two most outstanding umpires in Cricket. Aleem Dar, Simon Teufel, Asad Rauf make Cricket fair and exciting. Sutherland's irritation is certainly misplaced. He should learn some manners to respect people and rules.

  • jonesy2 on December 3, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    the call was a joke. i blame the umpires, its their decision. shocking stuff. common sense is not all that common they say, and it aint.

  • Ghummann67 on December 3, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Rules are framed to be followed as have been done by both the empires to safeguard the larger intersts of the game instead of pondering over the desires of the croud. Croud don't want a player to be given out at 99 but law dictatates he is out as per laws of cricket. In this situation should we regard the wishes of people or the law of cricket set by the cricketing governing body??? instead of blaming empires, Chief CA better go to ICC for review of law.

  • D.V.C. on December 2, 2011, 23:20 GMT

    At the very least, if the umpires make the call that it is too dark this should be able to be overturned by the agreement of the fielding captain and the batsmen at the crease.

  • disco_bob on December 2, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    If matches were started earlier then we'd be able to go off for bad light around 2 in the afternoon, thus leaving time to head down to the beach.

  • on December 2, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    Ridiculous. We should have had day-night tests 4 years ago -- this is what's killing cricket.

  • J._Doe on December 2, 2011, 18:56 GMT

    If they can have a day/night ODI then they should be able to play a full day using available daylight and flood lights. I'm not blaming the umps in this case but I'm suggesting use of artificial lights when natural light is not available for a whole working day. Why should the spectators or the leading team be short changed!

  • Haleos on December 2, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    @Copernicus - if the law say nothing about the light meters then surely the umpires are to be blamed. isnt it? as it was their decision.

  • zico123 on December 2, 2011, 14:30 GMT

    against a weaker NZ bowling attack, Ponting might score runs, but it will be illusion to think he is back in form. rather it is his best chance to walk away on the high.

  • on December 3, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    There must be continuity in the decisions by the umpires; taking last day's call into play the umpires have done the correct thing!

  • on December 3, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Sutherland should have the rules changed rather taking his anger on two most outstanding umpires in Cricket. Aleem Dar, Simon Teufel, Asad Rauf make Cricket fair and exciting. Sutherland's irritation is certainly misplaced. He should learn some manners to respect people and rules.

  • jonesy2 on December 3, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    the call was a joke. i blame the umpires, its their decision. shocking stuff. common sense is not all that common they say, and it aint.

  • Ghummann67 on December 3, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Rules are framed to be followed as have been done by both the empires to safeguard the larger intersts of the game instead of pondering over the desires of the croud. Croud don't want a player to be given out at 99 but law dictatates he is out as per laws of cricket. In this situation should we regard the wishes of people or the law of cricket set by the cricketing governing body??? instead of blaming empires, Chief CA better go to ICC for review of law.

  • D.V.C. on December 2, 2011, 23:20 GMT

    At the very least, if the umpires make the call that it is too dark this should be able to be overturned by the agreement of the fielding captain and the batsmen at the crease.

  • disco_bob on December 2, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    If matches were started earlier then we'd be able to go off for bad light around 2 in the afternoon, thus leaving time to head down to the beach.

  • on December 2, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    Ridiculous. We should have had day-night tests 4 years ago -- this is what's killing cricket.

  • J._Doe on December 2, 2011, 18:56 GMT

    If they can have a day/night ODI then they should be able to play a full day using available daylight and flood lights. I'm not blaming the umps in this case but I'm suggesting use of artificial lights when natural light is not available for a whole working day. Why should the spectators or the leading team be short changed!

  • Haleos on December 2, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    @Copernicus - if the law say nothing about the light meters then surely the umpires are to be blamed. isnt it? as it was their decision.

  • zico123 on December 2, 2011, 14:30 GMT

    against a weaker NZ bowling attack, Ponting might score runs, but it will be illusion to think he is back in form. rather it is his best chance to walk away on the high.

  • on December 2, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    The irony being that at exactly the same time we had a "twilight" Shield match being played in Melbourne. It was scheduled to finish at 7pm, which it did. They had the same creams as the players in Brisbane, the same red ball as the players in Brisbane, the same floodlights as the players in Brisbane, and the same apparent danger as the players in Brisbane. So why was it okay to play until 7pm in Melbourne but it's too dark to play in Brisbane at 4:38pm? Daylight savings notwithstanding.

  • bumsonseats on December 2, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    im not sure, if you go off the day before, you go off every other day on that reading. if the lights were not on the 1st day you then cannot swich them on to improve the readings. thats the rule i think maybe im wrong. dpk

  • Beertjie on December 2, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    The sooner we use black sightscreens and a pink ball the better for test cricket. Bring it on, ICC!

  • AidanFX on December 2, 2011, 11:54 GMT

    @ Robin - The floodlights have some positive help to better the light on the ground in overcast conditions. However they are limited in their ability - when the light gets too bad the natural light and the floodlights don't have a good chemistry - and if anything become more of a hindrance ( I am not equipped with knowledge of science behind it) - having said that - I believe the umps went off prematurely in this case - And I reckon the floodlights were doing their job rightly.

  • Copernicus on December 2, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    This is purely the ICC's fault. I'm currently working as an umpire and it found it really irksome that the media chose the easy targets and poured scorn upon Rauf and Dar when their ability to apply common sense has been removed. The laws of the game say nothing about light meters and in fact explicitly state "Conditions shall not be regarded as dangerous or unreasonable merely because they are not ideal." (3.8) Light meters are an addition of the ICC playing conditions so tha blame rests squarely with those well-known custodians of the game.

  • johntycodes on December 2, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    What a disgrace. There are way too many disruptions as it is for rain, sight screen issues, slow over rates, long lunch breaks and now the players are going off for clouds above. The game needs to get serious. It stays light until 8-30 in most states in australia if they are going off for bad light in those conditions today then they have to start games at first light 7-30 in the morning because this is just a joke.

  • disco_bob on December 2, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    I don't suppose that the umpires appreciate the irony in their opposition to the DRS and related technologies that were a long time coming yet something as obviously perfectly suited to a decision by the umpires in consultation with the captains, is deferred to a light meter that no one, not the umpires, spectators, captains nor CA agrees with.

  • MONASHKB on December 2, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    The ABC radio commentators were also bemused by the bad light call. The commentators included Damien Flemming whose opinion is widely respected. There is no doubt that the playing conditions were superior to those of yesterday and that play should have continued. Unfortunately, basing decisions one dimensionally (ie. solely on light meters) is inappropriate and the ICC should engage a more varied use of technology (and perhaps common sense - ie. umpire's discretion).

  • VivGilchrist on December 2, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    Are thet trying to kill Test cricket. @ Mitcher, before you praise Roebuck, maybe it would be good to think about what led to his demise?

  • Meety on December 2, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    I can vouch for the fact the light was definately brighter than yesterday - in fact, there were strips of blue sky around.

  • on December 2, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    What's wrong with the ground's floodlights?

  • othello22 on December 2, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Here's an idea: Try opening one's eyes. One might find that one can see quite clearly in Brisbane at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, regardless of what the silly little light meter thingie might say. If you're trying to tell me that it was as dark or darker than it was yesterday afternoon then you're either blind or an idiot, I don't care what the machine says. It would seem to me that technology has now completely replaced common sense and normal human intelligence. What a farce.

  • FatBoysCanBat on December 2, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    An absolute travesty...the ICC should do away with the light meters and judge it solely on what the umpires see. If this trend continues the true form of the game - Test cricket - will begin to lose fans because people will get increasingly frustrated by the constant stoppage of play, something I personally don't want to happen.

  • Mitcher on December 2, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    Tough to call it based on TV picture as image is heavily enhanced for the viewer. Can only go on fact that ch9 commentators to a man were unimpressed. BUT, those same commentators were purely infuriating 90% of the call. Peter Roebuck - we miss you mate!!!

  • satish619chandar on December 2, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    That is the technology.. Come on Mr.Greig.. This is for you if you are following technology blindly.. It has flaws and you need to accept it.. Blindly following a imperfect technology is not a good option..

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  • satish619chandar on December 2, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    That is the technology.. Come on Mr.Greig.. This is for you if you are following technology blindly.. It has flaws and you need to accept it.. Blindly following a imperfect technology is not a good option..

  • Mitcher on December 2, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    Tough to call it based on TV picture as image is heavily enhanced for the viewer. Can only go on fact that ch9 commentators to a man were unimpressed. BUT, those same commentators were purely infuriating 90% of the call. Peter Roebuck - we miss you mate!!!

  • FatBoysCanBat on December 2, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    An absolute travesty...the ICC should do away with the light meters and judge it solely on what the umpires see. If this trend continues the true form of the game - Test cricket - will begin to lose fans because people will get increasingly frustrated by the constant stoppage of play, something I personally don't want to happen.

  • othello22 on December 2, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Here's an idea: Try opening one's eyes. One might find that one can see quite clearly in Brisbane at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, regardless of what the silly little light meter thingie might say. If you're trying to tell me that it was as dark or darker than it was yesterday afternoon then you're either blind or an idiot, I don't care what the machine says. It would seem to me that technology has now completely replaced common sense and normal human intelligence. What a farce.

  • on December 2, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    What's wrong with the ground's floodlights?

  • Meety on December 2, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    I can vouch for the fact the light was definately brighter than yesterday - in fact, there were strips of blue sky around.

  • VivGilchrist on December 2, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    Are thet trying to kill Test cricket. @ Mitcher, before you praise Roebuck, maybe it would be good to think about what led to his demise?

  • MONASHKB on December 2, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    The ABC radio commentators were also bemused by the bad light call. The commentators included Damien Flemming whose opinion is widely respected. There is no doubt that the playing conditions were superior to those of yesterday and that play should have continued. Unfortunately, basing decisions one dimensionally (ie. solely on light meters) is inappropriate and the ICC should engage a more varied use of technology (and perhaps common sense - ie. umpire's discretion).

  • disco_bob on December 2, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    I don't suppose that the umpires appreciate the irony in their opposition to the DRS and related technologies that were a long time coming yet something as obviously perfectly suited to a decision by the umpires in consultation with the captains, is deferred to a light meter that no one, not the umpires, spectators, captains nor CA agrees with.

  • johntycodes on December 2, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    What a disgrace. There are way too many disruptions as it is for rain, sight screen issues, slow over rates, long lunch breaks and now the players are going off for clouds above. The game needs to get serious. It stays light until 8-30 in most states in australia if they are going off for bad light in those conditions today then they have to start games at first light 7-30 in the morning because this is just a joke.