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.