Australia news August 30, 2013

Australia to trial day-night first-class cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Cricket Australia plans to trial day-night first-class cricket with the longer-term aim of playing a Test in the country under lights. The ninth round of the Sheffield Shield this season will be a day-night affair with pink balls in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

If these attempts are successful, CA will look to schedule more day-night first-class matches in the 2014-15 season to further trial playing conditions and equipment. The matches are the first step towards a potential day-night Test being played in Australia in 2015-16, according to a CA release, and the board has been in talks with New Zealand Cricket about the possibility, with the neighbours slated to come visiting towards the end of 2015.

"There is a lot of work to be done and nothing is guaranteed but this summer's trials are our first serious effort to make day-night Test cricket a reality," CA CEO James Sutherland said. "We've also had some discussions with New Zealand Cricket to gauge their interest in the concept over the past few weeks given they are due to tour Australia in late 2015.

"This is all about the fans. Cricket can't afford to sit on its hands and must keep working hard to ensure Tests remain the most popular form of the game. There isn't a major team sport in the world that schedules the majority of its premium content during the working week. At least three days of a Test are played when adults are at work and kids are at school.

"No doubt there will be some resistance along the way but for the sake of growing the game in the long term, cricket needs to address the hurdles standing in the way of day-night Test cricket in a rational, mature way."

Sutherland acknowledged the challenges in the way, specifically those relating to developing a ball that works under lights for the long format and about the peculiar problems night conditions would pose. "We acknowledge that one of the critical aspects is how the ball wears, behaves and is seen over the course of an innings. There are also some concerns about dew on the ground at night. There may need to be some flexibility and compromise to get to the outcome."

The ICC last year approved the idea of day-night Tests, a decision which was welcomed by Sutherland, but left it to member boards to decide on the hours of play and the colour of the ball. Pakistan's offer to Sri Lanka to play a Test under lights in January 2014 on their tour to the United Arab Emirates was turned down by the latter, which cited its players' lack of practice with the pink ball as the source of their reluctance. Day-night first-class matches have been trialled before in Pakistan, South Africa, England, West Indies, India and Bangladesh.

"In encouraging teams to trial Test cricket as day-night matches, the ICC has said it will take a positive and flexible view of any proposed amendments to playing conditions that will allow such trials to proceed," Sutherland said. "CA's commitment to Test cricket does not just extend to our men's team being the best in the world. We also have a responsibility to help grow interest in Test cricket around the world. To achieve this, we need to try and find a way to schedule our premium content at a time when the most number of fans are able to attend and watch.

"The game needs to continue to evolve to meet the needs of its fans. We are not proposing all Tests should be played at night in the long-term, however, there are certain venues and times of the year where day-night Test cricket can potentially enhance and further promote and support the game."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    What's new about this?

    The Shield had day/night games in the late 90s using yellow balls. If memory serves me right, the balls got too dirty and there was no improvement in the meagre crowds that Shield cricket always gets.

  • POSTED BY 512fm on | September 1, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    The breaks will be interesting, maybe tea then dinner followed by supper

  • POSTED BY Ragav999 on | August 31, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    Oh my goodness! I hope they do not start entertaining the idea of bringing in cheerleaders here too. Having watched Ashes series with all cricketers in pure white with no advertisements on their dress and very less commercials in between overs was a fresh breath and many viewers don't want to lose it.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | August 31, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    It's been tried, with a pink ball. In the mid 90's shield games were played under lights & they found the pink balls didn't last. I used to go after work & watch the shield games with a few hundred people. It was good for the cricket enthusiasts, but didn't take off & there was the ball issue. So what's changed?

  • POSTED BY Humdingers on | August 31, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    Good in concept but will never work. The driving factor really is getting viewership in India (yes it will also boost numbers locally, but let's be honest, it's not this that is driving this). India will not opt to play under lights - major reason being that they do not need to play under lights in India for any other country's viewership. Hence, they won't have the practice as lead in. Why then would they take a risk playing overseas under lights?

  • POSTED BY on | August 31, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Neil Rickard Bradman didn't even want to pay players a proper wage. Cricket would be dead in the proffesional era of sports if it was up to him. Wake up to it, we need to save test cricket. It's the best sport on earth. This is how we do it.

  • POSTED BY on | August 31, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    After watching the Ashes during the night here in Aus. I have to say, day night test cricket is the best thing for our wonderful sport.

  • POSTED BY on | August 31, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    What about the twilight time when it gets difficult to sight the ball even under lights? And what about meal breaks - lunch and tea? What will these breaks be replaced with?

  • POSTED BY Wefinishthis on | August 31, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    ballsintherightareas - Great point you raise, but this is different. All of those other sports had major problems that needed fixing and none of them took away from tradition other than perhaps your Union example - but they reguarly review and change the points system and furthermore, the goal was an improvement in the game. Yes Test Cricket has issues (DRS system, scheduling and subcontinent interest) but moving to nights does not improve the game. It is answering a question nobody asked. Playing tests at night will fundamentally change the game as the pink ball will behave differently, tactics will change, there will be more controversy (bad light decisions, power outages) etc. In fact, the entire point of cricket was a game to play during the hot summer months that was not as physically exhausting as a winter sport like Football. Moving it to nights just defeats the purpose of everything. So I say leave the night excitement and money-making to T20's and leave Test Cricket as it is.

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | August 31, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    I'm not a fan of this idea. The potential for unbalanced playing conditions is too great. The best way to promote test cricket and get people invested in it is by ensuring it is of the highest quality (I'd love to see participation numbers in England pre- & post-Ashes 2005). CA have done their best to ruin our first class system and test team. How about more regional games? NSW played in Newcastle a couple of years ago (I watched Hughes pummel a century), and it was just about sold out every day. How often does that happen for a shield game?

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    What's new about this?

    The Shield had day/night games in the late 90s using yellow balls. If memory serves me right, the balls got too dirty and there was no improvement in the meagre crowds that Shield cricket always gets.

  • POSTED BY 512fm on | September 1, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    The breaks will be interesting, maybe tea then dinner followed by supper

  • POSTED BY Ragav999 on | August 31, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    Oh my goodness! I hope they do not start entertaining the idea of bringing in cheerleaders here too. Having watched Ashes series with all cricketers in pure white with no advertisements on their dress and very less commercials in between overs was a fresh breath and many viewers don't want to lose it.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | August 31, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    It's been tried, with a pink ball. In the mid 90's shield games were played under lights & they found the pink balls didn't last. I used to go after work & watch the shield games with a few hundred people. It was good for the cricket enthusiasts, but didn't take off & there was the ball issue. So what's changed?

  • POSTED BY Humdingers on | August 31, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    Good in concept but will never work. The driving factor really is getting viewership in India (yes it will also boost numbers locally, but let's be honest, it's not this that is driving this). India will not opt to play under lights - major reason being that they do not need to play under lights in India for any other country's viewership. Hence, they won't have the practice as lead in. Why then would they take a risk playing overseas under lights?

  • POSTED BY on | August 31, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Neil Rickard Bradman didn't even want to pay players a proper wage. Cricket would be dead in the proffesional era of sports if it was up to him. Wake up to it, we need to save test cricket. It's the best sport on earth. This is how we do it.

  • POSTED BY on | August 31, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    After watching the Ashes during the night here in Aus. I have to say, day night test cricket is the best thing for our wonderful sport.

  • POSTED BY on | August 31, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    What about the twilight time when it gets difficult to sight the ball even under lights? And what about meal breaks - lunch and tea? What will these breaks be replaced with?

  • POSTED BY Wefinishthis on | August 31, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    ballsintherightareas - Great point you raise, but this is different. All of those other sports had major problems that needed fixing and none of them took away from tradition other than perhaps your Union example - but they reguarly review and change the points system and furthermore, the goal was an improvement in the game. Yes Test Cricket has issues (DRS system, scheduling and subcontinent interest) but moving to nights does not improve the game. It is answering a question nobody asked. Playing tests at night will fundamentally change the game as the pink ball will behave differently, tactics will change, there will be more controversy (bad light decisions, power outages) etc. In fact, the entire point of cricket was a game to play during the hot summer months that was not as physically exhausting as a winter sport like Football. Moving it to nights just defeats the purpose of everything. So I say leave the night excitement and money-making to T20's and leave Test Cricket as it is.

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | August 31, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    I'm not a fan of this idea. The potential for unbalanced playing conditions is too great. The best way to promote test cricket and get people invested in it is by ensuring it is of the highest quality (I'd love to see participation numbers in England pre- & post-Ashes 2005). CA have done their best to ruin our first class system and test team. How about more regional games? NSW played in Newcastle a couple of years ago (I watched Hughes pummel a century), and it was just about sold out every day. How often does that happen for a shield game?

  • POSTED BY Scoffy on | August 30, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    This is all well and good but has anyone asked the umpires if they will allow play under lights as they are the only ones with the authority to authorise play. What happens if the first game is about to start and the upires stop play for bad light?

  • POSTED BY HOMEBREW on | August 30, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    @Green_and_Gold Excellent idea. What better way to get kids involved since cricket is loosing them to the other codes.

    Dear Sutherland,

    What sort of scheme is this? Sutherland, you should be trying to work with the cricketing boards of each state and groundsmen to try and produce wickets so our batsmen can start to score runs again. This is whats needed: we need batsmen. We have plenty of bowlers due to the wickets favouring them over the past couple of years.

    Test cricket SHOULD remain for play during the day & not trying to be like ODI's or 20/20. How would even moving sheild games to a day night schedule even improve our batting? Failing to fix the pitch problems won't result in anymore Hayden, Langer, S Waugh, M Waugh, Taylor, Slater type batsmen. I'd suggest fixing this imbalance first before you start messing with your bread and butter. Please stop annoying us with your crazy schemes, as you know, WE the FANS are the one's that PAY your wages

  • POSTED BY ss1981 on | August 30, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    Leave Shield/first class cricket as a day game, the Ryobi Cup/List A games as day/nighters and the fluff of T20 as the night game. If they want to experiment with different times and balls, then schedule the second tier of Australian domestic cricket at the second (or in Victoria's case, third - Kardinia Park) grounds in the state, that way they might get practical feedback, before introducing it into the Sheffield Shield.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | August 30, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    Dyed-n-the-wool traditionalists like certain posters simply do not get the need to adapt. Bad light has ruined so many potentially great finishes, but no, tradition must be upheld whatever the cost. As a matter of fact @Wefinishthis on (August 30, 2013, 9:23 GMT) test cricket is NOT doing fine in South Africa. The Boxing Day test is played in Durban before very poor crowds with bad light curtailing each day's play. This was why last year they scheduled short format games. I'm sure that with a 15.00 start, many spectators will come to the last two sessions after enjoying the beaches, etc. Just sort out the quality of the pink ball and watch the newest form of test cricket unfold!

  • POSTED BY on | August 30, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    When is Cricket Australia going to wake up , do they want to become the laughing stock of the Test world and continue down the hit and miss cricket or do they want to regain the No 1 status the Australian Fans deserve . Sir Donald Bradman would be turning over in his grave at the way cricket is being run and played in this country at the moment .

  • POSTED BY on | August 30, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    I don't know if anyone has thought of this, but when 50/50 over matches started trying to play in the evenings pink balls were tested and the players complained that they left a 'tail' in the batter's view (we now use white balls). To reduce this, how about using a ball that is one half the traditional red (easy to see during the day) and one half a yellow/orange/pink/blue (which ever colour stands out best at night).

  • POSTED BY on | August 30, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Cricket Australia need to be focusing on improving the domestic competition so that better talent gets reavealed so that the international team can have better options.... instead of worrying about utter rubbish like day/night tests... get you priorties straight Cricket Australia!

  • POSTED BY Int.Curator on | August 30, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    Cricket like any sport is big business. Kerry Packer made a successful blueprint when he introduced lights to limited overs cricket. Toni Greig, the players of that era and cricket reaped the rewards with better pay. Test cricket in general needs a boost and the immense exposure due to television rights is at least worth a trial.

  • POSTED BY 512fm on | August 30, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    They're kidding right? No one in their right mind is going to down to the cricket after a 9-5 work day and sit and watch until 9-10pm. The beauty of test cricket is when its played in the day with the sun out, so don't give us the "for the fans" bull. I'm sure most Australian cricket fans would rather you focus on the actual cricket rather than everything surrounding it.

  • POSTED BY heathrf1974 on | August 30, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Can't hurt. Cricket is the one sport that is always trying something new. As long as they stop preparing the wickets as all green-tops and get them back to their traditional way and at test standard.

  • POSTED BY heathrf1974 on | August 30, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    Can't hurt. Cricket is the one sport that is always trying something new. As long as they stop preparing the wickets as all green-tops and get them back to their traditional way and at test standard.

  • POSTED BY ballsintherightareas on | August 30, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    @Wefinishthis - Wimbledon now has a cover over centre court. Would you prefer it removed? Tries in rugby union are now worth 5 rather than 4 points to avoid teams playing only for penalties. Would you like it changed back? Footballers can now be penalised for diving. Would you give them free rein? I think you'll find that cricket, like all sports, has changed quite a few times over the years, and the world around cricket is certainly changing. Cricket has to evolve. History is more or less bunk.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | August 30, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Use the white ball and change the white outfit to light blue for all the test matches and FC matches. No need for pink balls and trials.

  • POSTED BY dwblurb on | August 30, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    Once again a demonstration of CA's skewed priorities. There's only one motivation behind this, and it isn't to attract larger crowds (there will only be a few hours play after people have finished work) - it's to provide more TV "product" in prime time. Never mind that it will diminish the integrity of Test cricket.

  • POSTED BY Wefinishthis on | August 30, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    For over a hundred years test cricket has been played during the day, now all of a sudden James Sutherland thinks he has the divine right to go against every previous administrator before him. Test cricket is doing fine in Australia, England and South Africa. The Boxing Day and New Years tests are played during the summer holiday season where the first 2-3 days are usually packed out. I really don't see any issue here. Tradition is what makes test cricket what it is. Tamper with it and you risk destroying that tradition and therefore ruining the very point of watching it in the first place. I can understand day/night tests in the subcontinent where tests are not as popular, but I just don't see the point of changing anything relating to tests. The administrators are being greedy and in that quest, they may very well destroy the thing they're trying to protect. Leave test cricket alone (no test championship, no day/night matches), remove ODI's, promote T20 - the future of cricket.

  • POSTED BY Green_and_Gold on | August 30, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Why not have test cricket build relationships with schools? Invite schools to attend a mid week days play and incorporate them in. Schools do PE anyway so this could turn out to be an educational trip - they could tour the ground, look at training facilities, observe some training or warm ups and speak with players or team staff. Then they can watch a days play (or 1 or 2 sessions). Incorporate the kids into the game and get them to understand the sport.

  • POSTED BY Keshavaram on | August 30, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    D/N tests will be GREAT. The timings of the match 1st Cession 13.30 to 15.30, 2nd Cession 16.10 to 18.10, 3rd Cession 18.30 to 20.00 Players must need rest after the match.Most important factor is DEW the ball slips from the bowlers or fielders hand. There must be atand by power supply in case of power failure. One thing let in be played in neutral venues. Eg WI vs SL to be played in Zim, Pak vs Ind in Aus Eng vs Aus in Ind. A trail run must be given.

  • POSTED BY ballsintherightareas on | August 30, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    @checheong114 Well, they will have to work with local authorities to get approval regarding noise, removal of litter, etc, the police about policing, local transport operators about getting people to and from matches. They will need ground staff to work different hour which may need their employment contracts changing...etc. But is it worth it? Absolutely!

  • POSTED BY ballsintherightareas on | August 30, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Well done Cricket Australia. So we might have a ball that wears differently and will need to be changed more often. Who cares as long as the players are on the pitch at a time they can be watched.

  • POSTED BY squidhead on | August 30, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    What planet is this guy on? If CA is committed to making the test team the best in the world (ha!), how about NOT disrupting the first-class season with an orgy of meaningless T20 rubbish? How about focusing on making the shield competitive again, rather than yet another gimmicky revenue raiser? Players don't want pink balls. Players don't want radically changing conditions throughout the day. They sure as hell don't want day-night tests. Comparisons with other sports are are meaningless, cricket is what it is and it is a game that at its highest level is played during daylight hours. If we YET AGAIN let ourselves dilute and distort the game in search of quick bucks we will kill test cricket entirely. It's as if he's learned nothing from ten years of failure. We have to get rid of this guy, this is madness.

  • POSTED BY 4test90 on | August 30, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    What do you mean trail them ? Day/night Shield matches were played in 1994/5. I remember Dean Jones getting a triple century vs SA at the MCG. This business of day/night Tests is like a night Grand Final in Australian Football. Every so often it gets trotted out but it will never happen.

  • POSTED BY dirtydozen on | August 30, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    in order to improve the fc, the aussies should not allow the u-23 players to t20 play in t20 leagues. with this the players can concentrate on fc and list a till that time. Players like patterson, sandhu, agar, bosisto etc can concentrate in fc's till 23 with this they can improve their technique and less prone to fatigue or injury.

  • POSTED BY on | August 30, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    One thing James Sutherland and the air conditioned administrators forget is that most spectators cook in the outer at many venues around the world. In Australia the WACA is the worst for this. Just check which spaces are filled first at that venue. It is always the shade. I imagine being in the sun all day in the outer in Sri Lanka is brutal. No wonder the fans there prefer cricket at night. But at most Australian grounds this is not an issue. And the Gabba, now as comfortable shade wise as the MCG, had it's biggest ever single day attendance outside an Ashes Test just last November. An Aust v Sri Lanka Test had its best ever attendance last Boxing Day. Apart from Hobart, Test crowds in Australia are healthy. James Sutherland should just admit the idea is to help Channel Nine have more cricket on prime time. I believe the work thing keeping people away will become a bit of a myth. People won't go through traffic at peak hour to see one session of cricket anyway.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | August 30, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    That is a very good idea as then we can take the "bad light" equation out of test cricket and have games that are based on who is the better team not on who gets lucky. I'd also like to see the reintroduction of rest days into tests so that if it rains then the rest day can be moved. I'd also like to see more international cricket stadiums have rooves, like Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia does. All of these things would improve fairness of the game.

  • POSTED BY on | August 30, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    IT would be better if he focus more on improving quality of current first class cricket.

  • POSTED BY chechong0114 on | August 30, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    Why does everything with cricket always have to take this long drawn out process all the time just get on with the thing already. Why wait till 2014, 2015 just use the white ball.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY chechong0114 on | August 30, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    Why does everything with cricket always have to take this long drawn out process all the time just get on with the thing already. Why wait till 2014, 2015 just use the white ball.

  • POSTED BY on | August 30, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    IT would be better if he focus more on improving quality of current first class cricket.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | August 30, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    That is a very good idea as then we can take the "bad light" equation out of test cricket and have games that are based on who is the better team not on who gets lucky. I'd also like to see the reintroduction of rest days into tests so that if it rains then the rest day can be moved. I'd also like to see more international cricket stadiums have rooves, like Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia does. All of these things would improve fairness of the game.

  • POSTED BY on | August 30, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    One thing James Sutherland and the air conditioned administrators forget is that most spectators cook in the outer at many venues around the world. In Australia the WACA is the worst for this. Just check which spaces are filled first at that venue. It is always the shade. I imagine being in the sun all day in the outer in Sri Lanka is brutal. No wonder the fans there prefer cricket at night. But at most Australian grounds this is not an issue. And the Gabba, now as comfortable shade wise as the MCG, had it's biggest ever single day attendance outside an Ashes Test just last November. An Aust v Sri Lanka Test had its best ever attendance last Boxing Day. Apart from Hobart, Test crowds in Australia are healthy. James Sutherland should just admit the idea is to help Channel Nine have more cricket on prime time. I believe the work thing keeping people away will become a bit of a myth. People won't go through traffic at peak hour to see one session of cricket anyway.

  • POSTED BY dirtydozen on | August 30, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    in order to improve the fc, the aussies should not allow the u-23 players to t20 play in t20 leagues. with this the players can concentrate on fc and list a till that time. Players like patterson, sandhu, agar, bosisto etc can concentrate in fc's till 23 with this they can improve their technique and less prone to fatigue or injury.

  • POSTED BY 4test90 on | August 30, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    What do you mean trail them ? Day/night Shield matches were played in 1994/5. I remember Dean Jones getting a triple century vs SA at the MCG. This business of day/night Tests is like a night Grand Final in Australian Football. Every so often it gets trotted out but it will never happen.

  • POSTED BY squidhead on | August 30, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    What planet is this guy on? If CA is committed to making the test team the best in the world (ha!), how about NOT disrupting the first-class season with an orgy of meaningless T20 rubbish? How about focusing on making the shield competitive again, rather than yet another gimmicky revenue raiser? Players don't want pink balls. Players don't want radically changing conditions throughout the day. They sure as hell don't want day-night tests. Comparisons with other sports are are meaningless, cricket is what it is and it is a game that at its highest level is played during daylight hours. If we YET AGAIN let ourselves dilute and distort the game in search of quick bucks we will kill test cricket entirely. It's as if he's learned nothing from ten years of failure. We have to get rid of this guy, this is madness.

  • POSTED BY ballsintherightareas on | August 30, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Well done Cricket Australia. So we might have a ball that wears differently and will need to be changed more often. Who cares as long as the players are on the pitch at a time they can be watched.

  • POSTED BY ballsintherightareas on | August 30, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    @checheong114 Well, they will have to work with local authorities to get approval regarding noise, removal of litter, etc, the police about policing, local transport operators about getting people to and from matches. They will need ground staff to work different hour which may need their employment contracts changing...etc. But is it worth it? Absolutely!

  • POSTED BY Keshavaram on | August 30, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    D/N tests will be GREAT. The timings of the match 1st Cession 13.30 to 15.30, 2nd Cession 16.10 to 18.10, 3rd Cession 18.30 to 20.00 Players must need rest after the match.Most important factor is DEW the ball slips from the bowlers or fielders hand. There must be atand by power supply in case of power failure. One thing let in be played in neutral venues. Eg WI vs SL to be played in Zim, Pak vs Ind in Aus Eng vs Aus in Ind. A trail run must be given.