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Sutherland welcomes possibility of day-night Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 30, 2012

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

A view of the MCG, Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 2nd day, December 27, 2011
The MCG could one day stage a Test match under lights © Getty Images
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James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, has welcomed the ICC's endorsement for countries to play day-night Tests. The change, which depends the development of a suitable ball, came into effect with the new playing regulations from Tuesday.

Sutherland indicated that Australia would consider proposals to play day-night Tests at home, to better help fans follow "cricket's premium format". The arrangement would require bilateral agreement on playing times and the brand, type and colour of the ball used.

This last point could be the most significant obstacle in the immediate future, with tests on a pink ball still being conducted. Cricket South Africa last month expressed doubts about the ball's viability, while day-night first-class matches have also been trialled in England, the West Indies and, most recently, Bangladesh.

"Test cricket is by definition played on at least three week days, times when most people are at work or school, and this limits the ability of fans to attend or watch on TV," Sutherland said. "We limit ourselves by staging cricket's premium format at times when fans often cannot watch."

"CA has a formal strategic plan that demands Australian cricket puts fans first and we will now add day-night Tests to the agenda when we talk to other Test nations about their future tours Down Under."

Sutherland said that when a Test was played in Perth on Australia's west coast, which is three hours behind the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, the television audience was much higher because fans on the east coast were home from work. However, he conceded that coming up with an alternative to the red ball used in Tests could take time.

"Finding a Test ball that is as easily visible in the day as it is at night is still a technical work in progress that the ICC is now leading and it has not yet been possible to predict when such a ball might be available," he said. "The traditional red ball is not regarded as suitable for night cricket because it is not as visible at night as it is in the day, and the ODI white ball is not suitable for Tests as it is not as durable and does not last as well as a Test ball needs to last."

However, the move to day-night Tests could gain extra momentum with Cricket Australia set to negotiate a new broadcasting deal over the next few months. Channel Nine is keen on the idea of Test cricket being on air later in the day, when more viewers can tune in, and the network's head of sport, Steve Crawley, said the matter would be discussed when CA and Nine sit down to work on a new deal.

"I can't see a downside to it from an entertainment point of view," Crawley told the Age. "We'll be starting a Test match [against South Africa] Friday week in Brisbane at a time of year when so many people are at work during the day, and night-time cricket would give us a bigger audience."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (October 31, 2012, 18:11 GMT)

LOL !!! Test cricket at night ??? Hmm... do CA think they are some sort of geniuses ? Smart people already know this won't work. The MCC tried plenty of tricks with a pink ball, an orange ball etc. Dravid personally said it didn't work after playing a game in the UAE. Short n sweetly, test cricket is ONLY for the DAY. No matter what the ICC or CA do, it won't work in the night. Even if it did, people are smart enough to not waste their precious evenings watching this format. If CA want to do something useful, they need to start looking at ways to put Australia at the top of the ICC rankings once again. Now, that would be money well spent.

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (October 31, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

What's the big deal in using a white ball? And why should a ball last 80 overs? Keep it simple - use a white ball and change it every 40 or 50 overs... both spinners and pacers have been making good use of white ball in ODIs... Can't understand why it can't help in Tests.

Posted by vswami on (October 31, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

What is unsaid by CA is that night matches will help CA market test cricket television to subcontinental audience at day time, as matches will then start at 10 am or so Indian time instead of 5:30 am. If BCCI had welcomed a similar proposal, they would have been greedy money grubbers, but not rest of the world.

Posted by Meety on (October 31, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

"We limit ourselves by staging cricket's premium format at times when fans often cannot watch." - more genius from Sutherland! I bet nobody else has ever thought of that! == == == I read in the paper talk of next year's Ashes being a Day/Night event (subject to balls!). I would hate for the Ashes to be played in this manner. There are plenty of options to trial Day/Night tests against teams like Bangladesh & Zimbabwe, teams we have to play eventually in Oz. The other thing is, whilst it is one thing to say - lets play day/night matches - but I bet Channel 9 won't move the 6 o'clock news! In peak summer months - if you are only talking about play between say 1 & 8pm - in the states with daylight savings - that is bright light & you don't need Pink, although after the Sixer sucess, Pink will be the in-colour!

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 1:59 GMT)

I welcome the day/night test matches with great optimism. But I hope it doesn't change the minimum limit of overs to be bowled with one ball because of color of the ball as someone was talking about changing the minimum overs to be bowled with one ball from 80 to 45. I think it will ruin the art of spin bowling and mainly it will help teams like Aus, Eng, SA, NZ because of the nature of their bowling units and pitches. To me the best solution is to keep trying to develop a ball with suitable color which lasts at least 80 overs. Don't want to see test matches to be played only with fast bowlers.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (October 31, 2012, 0:17 GMT)

Hahaha.. I hope Aussies are not fools to waste their wonderful evenings to test cricket. Bring on Armageddon instead.

Posted by duralsumo on (October 30, 2012, 22:55 GMT)

I recognise that the game must evolve. However is it more about tradition in my point of view? Probably. As a test match is an occassion. 2nd January at the SCG used to be an occassion (3rd January still maintains it). I recognise that the TV companies make a big investment to the game however true cricket fans like seeing the oldest form where all the subtleties can be exploited. Yes the suits can do their deals in the private boxes and probably not watch the game. The game is about the contest.

Posted by Nightwing32 on (October 30, 2012, 22:45 GMT)

Can work, should be interesting. Works for a lot of people max going to play 3 weekdays in a test and people have work, school and uni. So yeah could be interesting naturally they would start earlier if rain is an issue

Posted by dock_haul on (October 30, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

well in my opinion test cricket's charm is it's being a day game rather than night game like other formats but icc is hell bent on changing the face of real game. lets see if a match is going to start in late afternoon then the early morning advantages and swing will be lost and may be test cricket will become rather boring and predictable. i am disappointed with this and i dont know if icc works for the good of the game or for pleasing a few members of it.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

As an 18 year old. I want more quality test matches, even if there are less. However 3 tests against South Africa isn't enough

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