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June 28, 2012
Day-night Test cricket has once again become a possibility after the ICC annual conference in Kuala Lampur. All Full Members were approached and asked if they would be open to the idea of hosting a day-night Test and there seems to be interested from some quarters. CSA's acting chief executive, Jacques Faul, called it "one the exciting ideas" to emerge from the meeting.
"We were all encouraged to try and host a night Test," Faul said at a press briefing on his return home. "In our case, it's something the board will have to approve first before anything else can happen. Then, we'll have to convince the players, the coach and the opponents."
Although Faul admitted the idea is something CSA may "want to try", he said he would not be happy to rush into it without some form of trial run. "If we do it, we will start off with a first-class match. I'm not brave enough to just get into a [international] night game without testing it," he said. Pakistan is the only country that have played first-class cricket under lights, with the final of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy being played as a day-night fixture for the last two seasons.
Faul said there was significant feedback from the Pakistan experiment to pique the interest of some other countries, including South Africa. "There weren't any negative comments about it," he said. "The pink Kookaburra ball is good enough, is what we have been told."
Should South Africa decide to sample the concept, Faul said they will look carefully into which grounds they can use, with a particular focus on weather. "Night cricket is a funny thing, because it means playing in different conditions," he said. "I am a little scared about the dew factor at certain grounds at certain times of the year." South Africa's Highveld venues as well as the coastal ground in Durban, where humidity is high, usually have significant amounts of dew during the summer months.
The specifics of day-night Test cricket are already being talked about in some form. Faul said the idea would be to start at 4pm and play until around 10pm, meaning playing time amounting to an hour less than is currently the norm. "It's speculation for now," Faul said.
He admitted the most important aspect would be getting players to agree to participate in the idea but, he said, he believed it could revolutionise the longest format of the game. "It will be interesting to see how the players react to it but I think it could be very beneficial," Faul said. "I think that might be the way forward. I might not see it taking place at every venue or against every team, but it definitely has the blessing of the ICC executive's committee."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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