The future of Test cricket September 9, 2009

Bangladesh agree to day-night Test in England

Cricinfo staff

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has agreed to the ECB's request to appear in the first-ever day-night Test during the team's tour of England in May-June next year. However, the ICC has not yet cleared the idea and its approval will be subject to suitable equipment being developed for the purpose.

The idea was first proposed by the MCC during its World Cricket Committee meeting at Lord's in July as a way of making the game's longest and oldest format more appealing. The other proposals included the use of pink balls and a World Test Championship.

The ICC has made it clear that though the concept of day-night Tests was discussed by its cricket committee, no decision has been taken yet. "The ICC cricket committee had last year agreed in principle that the notion of day-night Tests should be investigated," an ICC spokesperson said. "For now, we are happy for members to try this at the domestic level first and if it proves successful, the cricket committee would consider recommending this on a trial basis at the Test level."

Apparently, there are a number of key issues related to the concept that are still being discussed: the colour of players clothing, whether the suggested pink balls retains its colour or needs to be changed frequently due to discolouration or wear and tear, to what extent would batting, bowling and fielding conditions vary and so on.

An MCC spokesman confirmed to Cricinfo that the World Cricket Committee would meet with the ICC in November. The future of Test cricket is on the agenda, and within that floodlit Tests will be discussed. "We are very keen to help in any way we can," the spokesman said, "and have been continuing with our trials of coloured balls to see if it will work on television."

The MCC could have a dual role in this process: as well as being fully behind floodlit Tests. Lord's could be the ground to host the match. One of the Bangladesh Tests is currently allocated to Headingley; the other is part of the bidding process, with Lord's in the running to hosting it. "We would like to host it and we have our brand new floodlights," said the spokesman.

The future of Test cricket has been the subject of debate within the ICC over the last year with the concept of a Test championship initially gaining ground. But the idea was opposed by the India and England cricket boards who did not find merit in sharing their substantial TV revenue that would have gone to a common pool.

India and England have subsequently backed the idea of day-night Test cricket as a way of taking the format forward amidst the rise of Twenty20 cricket. However, the ICC, which is finalising its Future Tours Programme post-2012, is yet to arrive at a decision on the matter. The ICC's executive board meets next in October, when the issue is likely to be discussed again.

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