ICC news May 11, 2011

Day-night Tests next year a possibility


Floodlit Test matches could become a reality within two years if another 12 months of trials in first-class cricket are successful. The ICC Cricket Committee, which held a two-day meeting at Lord's, recommended that the pink ball should be used in Intercontinental Cup matches and domestic competitions to ensure it can last 80 overs, but the committee is confident that day-night Tests are getting closer.

The trials over the past two years have shown there is little difference between pink and orange balls, and the former version will be the one taken forward. "If the reports coming back are that the ball keeps its condition and colour then I think we will be in a position this time next year to select a couple of venues and trial a day-night Test," Dave Richardson, the ICC general manager of cricket, said.

Now the committee, which makes recommendations to the ICC chief executive committee and board, wants countries to use the pink ball for at least one round of their domestic first-class tournament over the next year. That would mean it appearing in competitions such as the Sheffield Shield, County Championship and SuperSport series. So far, day-night matches of multiple days' duration have been staged in Pakistan and Australia along with two MCC champion county fixtures in Abu Dhabi.

"We've spent a lot of time over the last 24 months trying to develop a ball and to start with we didn't know whether it should be pink, orange, yellow or whatever," Richardson said. "Now we've crystallised that there's not much difference between the pink and orange balls and it was a question of finding a ball that could retain its colour throughout 50-80 overs.

"In the Abu Dhabi match it did, but the conditions were fairly benign, the outfield was a good one, there was no dew and the balls stood up well. We decided we needed further trialling in multi-day competitions. "

The one significant issue to overcome appears to be the impact of dew, which could impact the venues that are able to host floodlit Tests. It has often been seen in one-day internationals how a team bowling second second under the lights can be severely handicapped by a wet ball and it can make the toss too influential on the outcome. "We were worried by the dew factor," Clive Lloyd, the committee chairman, "if one side bowls first and other bowls at night it could be with a bar of soap."

Richardson added: "The venue still needs to have decent lights, somewhere like Lord's, Sydney or Abu Dhabi. You also need to play it at a venue, and time of year, where dew isn't going to come in a seven o'clock. You can have the best ball in the world but it would be unfair in those conditions."

The push behind floodlit Tests is largely to try to bring crowds back to the game in countries where they have severely dwindled, although Richardson believes all Full Members will be interested in trying the concept.

"I'm not as pessimistic as some when it comes to needing to save Test cricket," Richardson said. "I do think it affords the board the opportunity to play Test cricket when more people are available to watch and also commercially it can be more valuable to play at those times of the day; the prime TV viewing time in the evening."

The hope is floodlights will bring people through gates, but as always television isn't far from the equation.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Karthikeyan on May 14, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    (Continued from Part I above) Part II: We already have examples of year-round closed-roof stadiums like the Colonial stadium (Telstra Dome) in Melbourne, which have held international Cricket matches. Yes, these are big-budget decisions to make, but with Cricket raking in much moolah, I think that regional Cricket boards would have the wherewithal to do it.

  • Karthikeyan on May 14, 2011, 23:42 GMT

    Part I: Floodlit Test matches are fine, but in order to woo the spectator's interest back, one needs to attack the root cause and not the symptoms. The spectators want an outcome for the match where they have devoted time (multiple days) and money for watching, and they are not getting it. A major part of the problem lies in the fact that inclement weather plays spoilsport for results to happen. Floodlit matches could be a work-around and extend the playing hours so that one can bypass any temporary interruptions in play. However, a more permanent solution would be to prevent it (for instance, rain) from being a problem in the first place, and there are already successful examples of that. Take for instance, the Blue Jays's (Baseball) Skydome in Toronto, or the Centre Court in Wimbledon (Tennis); both have retractable roofs. Skydome has had it since 1989, and theirs takes 20 minutes alone to cover, and make the match an indoor one. Wimbledon got it only two years ago. Pls. see part II.

  • Siddharth on May 13, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    Ireland deserve test status..Voice of poor will not go unheard..

  • Rakesh on May 13, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    I don't think test should be played under flood lights.........what happened to the tradition? Otherwise just eliminate the tests....................

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    if you want to improve test cricket, improve the pitches, especially in the subcontinent. Side batting under lights in a day night test match will have it easy if there is dew on the ground. Even if dew is not around, there are certain grounds where the pitch just livens up under lights and seems around which makes batting second much more difficult than batting first. We need sporting pitches where result will be guaranteed, where the fast bowlers/ seamers have their say on day 1 and 2 batting eases on day 3 and by day 4 and day 5 spinners come into play. I have no issue against drawn test matches, but even drawn test matches can be exciting. No point having tame high scoring draws that boost the batting averages of certain players and do nothing else.

  • david on May 12, 2011, 17:27 GMT

    its test match cricket for gods sake. if it aint broke dont need fixing. if day /night cricket is played in england in late aug/sept the bowling attack bowling will get a massive benifit. do these guys on the icc panel think they have to tinker with everything they discuss.dpk

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    Please don't make tests boring. They already have a boring quotient in them, like when two pathetic bowling teams battle it out.

    India and Sri Lanka? Oh yeah.

  • Enrico on May 12, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster : Luks like u r jealous of the fact dat USA doesnt have a test status n probably never will( atleast in the immediate future). If u r so interested in fast paced games, go n watch Rugby, NBA or Nascar. F1 wud also do. And I dont adore colonial traditions either but for me Test matches are still the real test f the batsmen and the bowlers. T20 n ODi have become too batsmen-friendly. A nail-biting contest between bat n ball is way more interesting than seeing the bowler being hit all over the park.

  • Douglas on May 12, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    Floodlights? Do you realize that parts of the world would have to experience blackouts to accomodate this? You guys are tinkering and messing up the game. Alsolutely nothing is wrong with test cricket. In fact, only real cricketers play test crickets. Its a game of strategy - that 1-day formats offer much less of, and 20/20 least of.Mess up those two format all you want, but please leave test cricket alone. Those who hate tests mostly have short attention span and no time to stop and smell the roses. Preserve tests for the true lover of the sport. You want to know the true value of a cricketer, just look up his test records. Anybody can swipe in 20/20.

  • Sam on May 12, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Leave test cricket alone. The only acceptable change is the REMOVAL of all sponsor logos and commercials messages from team uniforms, cricket kit, stumps and umpire clothing. The five day game has to be protected from commercial exploitation.

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