ICC news April 18, 2014

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole new statistics database.

Day-night Test cricket has been the ICC's beloved project of late. It has been experimenting pink-ball cricket in the UAE, and has also been encouraging its member boards to keep trying it in their domestic first-class cricket. Pietersen, with 104 Test caps, is the first high-profile cricketer to oppose the idea in such clear terms.

"I have never played with the pink ball," Pietersen said responding to a question by BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary at an interactive session organised by Indian Express. "And if they start playing day-night Test cricket, then they have to start new statistics because it's totally different. You've got Brett Lee running in at quarter to ten at night with the second new ball. I mean it's just stupid."

According to conventional analysis, the durability of the pink ball has been the biggest problem area so far, but Pietersen went on to state how day-night cricket would change the whole equilibrium of Test cricket, durable ball or no durable ball. He also added that he believed the first session will be the only time the spinners will be effective.

"I don't know if it'll work, but I am not a fan of it at all." Pietersen said. "If they want to play it, then it can be a new form of cricket, but they have to use new statistics for it for sure. If you are going to play day-night Test cricket in Durban, I can't see a ball spinning when the sun goes down, and the light comes on. I can see the ball seaming. On day five, spinners win you Test matches. But with the lights coming on, it will be seamers who will win you matches on day five. So I am not a fan of it at all."

Even if Pietersen's claims are ignored, the reviews of the pink ball are mixed. Rahul Dravid did not mind it a lot, but players in Australia, where the pink ball was trialled in three first-class matches were not quite thrilled.

Speaking at Cricinfo-for-Cricket Summit last year, Dravid said: "If it [keeping Tests relevant] means playing day-night cricket, we must give it a try, keep an open mind. The game's traditions aren't under threat if we play Test cricket under lights. I know there have been concerns about the durability of the pink ball, but I have had some experience of it having played for the MCC, and it seemed to hold up okay."

Different views came from Australia. "I found it hard when it was cloudy and then sunny," Queensland's Chris Lynn said. "I couldn't see the seam very well as the ball got older. That made it hard against the balls that were swinging."

South Australia's Michael Klinger found the ball hard to time. "The biggest difference is that once it gets softer, it doesn't come off the bat as well," Klinger said. "A lot of shots off the middle of the bat, it feels like a tennis ball... it's a bit softer and guys are struggling to hit the ball through the field." Victoria coach Greg Shipperd claimed that the pink paint scraped off, leaving dark patches underneath.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    What about the dew factor? It is going to be hard for the bowlers and fielders

  • Worrell on April 19, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    @Angus Bell - It does not "get dark so early in the day in the WI". It gets dark between 5.30 - 6.30pm. And it depends on the season. WI maybe the best for D/N cricket, since there is no serious dew factor nighttime. So far I have not heard of any negative reactions from WI players, with D/N first class games.

  • ESPN on April 19, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    Either day-night test cricket or no test cricket!!!!!

  • Steve on April 19, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    Firstly, I think Pietersen's wrong. The wonderful thing about Tests is that the conditions can vary so much (does he want "different stats" for a slow green wicket in NZ and for a Mumbai dustbowl)? I think one of the best things in Tests is that different skills / styles suit different wickets. Watching good teams in conditions that don't suit them is fantastic to watch, a great challenge for good players and is almost unique in any sport. So any unusual conditions would just add more interest and variation.

    And anyway, he doesn't have to worry about playing in one, does he?

  • Android on April 19, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    kp is right it is really a bad idea to play d/n test cricket because this will either knock the spinners off if you just play with the covers on for the whole day then there will be dew which means no spinners there is another thing the pitches won't deteriorate so with so with d/n tests day 5 Indian pitches will be like 2nd day test pitch of England

  • rob on April 19, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    @ GrindAR: You are kidding aren't you? Please tell me you are. .. Ok, running with it, what do you suggest the cut-out should be? 50 dots - 30- 20 10? How about 3, like in baseball. That way we could get the 4 innings in one afternoon. .. It would be even faster than T20.

  • udendra on April 19, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    How on earth will spinners grip the ball when dew sets in??

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    "Common sense usually prevails in situations like these, and frankly Pietersen is not using any." Now, Mannix16, it seems your just born or don't really know your cricket. Well, this is all basic science, with sun out there, the pitch gets baked and gets cracked up easily, but with night the game will be played at night the seam will come into play and yes less cracks cause at night no expansion of the crack will take place, but on the other hand it will shrink cause of weather condition . Basic science.

  • Don on April 19, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    Cricket as it was played in the nineteen century is barely recognizable from the game played now. And yet, the statistics make no distinction between Test and First-Class matches played then, and those played now. So what if the new ball is taken more often? Moving from underarm to overarm bowling and from uncovered to covered pitches had a far greater impact on the game than Day/Night Test ever will.

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    Pink balls are horrible to bat against. Orange is by far the easiest colour for the human eye to see. The only issue with orange is that broadcasters complained about yellow and orange balls back in the 70s, saying they were difficult to pick up on TV, hence the talk about pink. But TV has moved on lightyears since then.

    In some parts of the world, day-night Tests won't work because of climatic conditions, but in places like the West Indies, where is gets dark so early in the day, it would be a lifesaver for the game. Everybody has to work, or is in school, or is retired and unable to afford tickets. Urgent rethink. Please!

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