Sanjay Manjrekar
Former India batsman; now a cricket commentator and presenter on TV

Day-night Tests? Bring them on

We need to stop being as precious as we are about the game's traditions if Test cricket is to sustain itself

Sanjay Manjrekar

August 21, 2013

Comments: 92 | Text size: A | A

A subtly placed pink ball nestles on the boundary during its trial at Lord's, MCC v Scotland, Lord's, April 21, 2008
The pink ball has been trialled at the lower levels. Time it made it to Test cricket? © Getty Images
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I read media reports recently that the Pakistan Cricket Board had suggested to the Sri Lankan cricket board that their Test series, to be played in the UAE in December and January, could comprise day-night matches. Two days later I learnt that SLC was not very excited by the idea and so the day-night Tests in the UAE may not happen. I assume SLC is quite happy for its team to play Test cricket during the day, in front of 200 people, rather than in the evening in front of a possible 20,000, with many more watching on TV.

On my several visits to Sri Lanka, it has amazed me to see about 100 people watching a Test match between two major teams, like Sri Lanka and South Africa, at the SSC. The Sri Lankan cricket board seemed completely unperturbed by it. If Test cricket in Sri Lanka was a store, it would have closed a long time ago because of the lack of customers, and the same can be said about most Tests played around the world. We tend to look at the exceptions, like the Ashes, and think Test cricket is in good health.

I fail to understand the reluctance of cricket boards to try something different in order to get more viewers into grounds, as well as in front of TV sets.

Cricketing conditions - the colour of the ball, dew, and so on - are always cited as a hurdle and are the reasons given for why day-night Tests are not feasible. This instinctive response brings to light another issue, the tendency of all of us involved with the sport in our different ways to make mountains out of molehills. Whether it's umpiring decisions, pitches, outfields, light or whatever else, we just fuss over these things too much.

I think all of us in the cricketing world, whether it is fans, players, cricket boards or media, need to take a lesson here from teenagers and "take a chill pill". We ought to stop making a big issue out of some things in the game.

I played in a five-day Ranji Trophy final in Gwalior that was a day-night fixture, and it was one of the best first-class matches I ever played in - the main reason being that we played in front of a big crowd for a change. But clearly the white ball was an issue in that game and so the experiment was not repeated, and rightly so. Still, it is important to note that the better team won, good batsmen got runs and good bowlers got wickets. Crucially the crowd had a great time.

I am hearing from people, who know what they are talking about, that the pink ball is an option worth trying in long-duration day-night matches. The BCCI, as one of the world's leading cricket boards, could take the initiative here and have the Irani Cup, say, played with the pink ball, under lights. It has been 16 years since the experiment in Gwalior; time for another one, perhaps.

As for dew on the outfield, well, let there be dew. It could throw up some interesting scenarios. For example, the post-tea session could become a batting-friendly one, and tactics could be devised to account for this. Nothing is that big a deal in sport, as long as it's the same for both sides.

It is amusing to see in this day and age players coming off the field for slightly fading light, and umpires keeping them inside their rooms because there is a wet patch close to the boundary, a good 60 metres away from where most of the action takes place.

Elsewhere in the world, football matches are played in falling snow or on wet, slushy fields, and these footballers are sprinting the length and breadth of the ground in pursuit of that ball. Somehow they don't fear injuries like we cricketers do. And it's not as if we can say that cricketers are more valuable sportsmen than footballers and need to be protected better.

We over-react when it comes to bad light. Let me take you back to a famous India-Pakistan game in Sharjah that was played in fading light. Due to confusion over the playing conditions, India continued to bat even after the streetlights were switched on. The light was clearly bad, unfit for play, but out in the middle I could still see Wasim Akram's 90mph deliveries well enough to play them, and when I got out, slashing the ball to point, the fielder there saw it well enough to catch it.

 
 
We do a lot of pre-empting in our sport, always erring on the side of being cautious, thereby forfeiting some of the charm of the game
 

I have played in the Kanga League, which consists of one-day matches without restrictions on the number of overs bowled, held in the middle of the Mumbai monsoon. If it wasn't raining heavily, we played; it did not matter if the outfield was soaked in water, the grass was two feet high or the pitch wet. That tournament was the best club tournament I have played in and it held interest for all Mumbai cricketers then. It was competitive and action-packed because of the tough conditions. Lots of wickets would fall, and many times you would have two innings completed in a single day. Sounds unbelievable but it's true.

A score of 30 was a good as a hundred in another format for a batsman in the Kanga League. Everyone took part, Test players rubbing shoulders with club players. And though it was at the start of the season, no one avoided it out of the fear of getting injured playing in treacherous conditions before the season began.

In the ten years or so that I played in that tournament, I saw no one get seriously hurt. The couple of injuries that I remember could have been avoided by simply wearing a helmet. There is a lesson to be learnt here for all of us. Pre-emption is a tendency we should curb; we do a lot of pre-empting in our sport, always erring on the side of being cautious, thereby forfeiting some of the charm of the game. A lot of young upcoming fast bowlers are losing their way today because their coaches are forecasting their future injuries and changing their natural actions.

We must understand that if conditions are not ideal, players will adjust, and in really challenging settings they will just be a little more cautious. So on the odd occasion when the ball goes onto that wet patch close to the boundary, they will tread carefully.

I am not suggesting we replicate that day-night Ranji game, or the Kanga League games I played in, at the international level. All I am saying is, it is time to think out of the box. For an outdoor sport we really must stop expecting flawless playing conditions; this attitude is a killjoy for fans.

Those who follow Test cricket love the story a match tells; its script is far more gripping than the other two formats, but unfortunately this show is held when the fans are at work.

Playing Test cricket at a time convenient to fans is the only way Tests will draw more audiences at the ground and on television in all parts of the world. We live in a time where the consumer is king. What's the big deal about sacrificing some traditions of the game and changing our mindsets about some cricketing details to serve the audience better? Let's take that chill pill, shall we?

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by jimbond on (September 13, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

I disagree with Sanjay when he says that Murali Vijay has cemented his place as an opener. Far from it. Anyone who performs well- Gambhir, Sehwag, Mukund, etc etc should be seen as candidates for that position. Dhawan, yes, one of the opening slots is his for the time being. If Sehwag hits two centuries in two matches and wants to open, he will. The only question is whether he and the selectors think in terms of a lower order slot. However, in the Indian team, middle order slots are hard to come by. Apart from the openers we have scope for only three or four batsmen (at the most). Kohli and Pujara are certainties. So is Sachin if he plays. One would also think that Rohit Sharma has done enough in Ranji in the past to deserve a place in the test side. If Sehwag comes in, it can only be in the place of Jadeja or Ashwin (if India decides to play only one spinner).

Posted by paapam on (September 13, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

Even the truly great Gavaskar moved down the order at the end of his career. There is no reason why Sehwag should not be afforded the same luxury. Before that Sehwag needs to work on a few things. Physical fitness is mandatoty for any sport at this level. In Sehwag's case it is even more crucial as his game is based on hand-eye coordination and not on any purity of technique. Sehwag really looked out of shape in the matches before he was dropped. The other matter which he needs to sort is to regain Dhoni's confidence. He should learn from his young Delhi colleague, Kohli and make all the right noises.

Posted by Anneeq on (August 26, 2013, 11:46 GMT)

I TOTALLY agree with EVERYTHING u said Sanjay. It baffles me that we cant do day/night tests when we can have day/night ODIs. This bad light is just nonsense, pure and simple and its time a bit of common sense prevailed on that subject and they just put on the flood lights.....

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

Sanjay is absolutely right. Tests start from 10 and end at 6. People reach work at 9 and leave at 5 and in australia so is the case with uni in Australia. In australia, school starts at 9 and ends at 3. So there is a 6 hour overlap out of 8. People talk about lack of tests popularity, when testmatches go for 5 days and take up 6 overs of professional life everyday, and a team plays 12-13 every year. Thats 60-65 days. So poor attendance is guaranteed. People don't like tests - no not unnecessarily, just timing doesn't allow us.

Posted by Naresh28 on (August 23, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

TEST cricket is waning. Providing a TEST championship would be a good idea. I am all for the pink ball. Also afternoon/night games will allow better crowd in evenings. A few thoughts on improving crowds at the game:- (1) Drop the price of ticket on last two days. (2) Ensure that staduim's have covering overhead against rain and sun - the spectator needs to be comfortable. (3) Have two ticket prices - night watchers pay half.

Posted by HutingXI on (August 23, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

I think test cricket need spiced up. May be fixed overs per innings, force full overrate which get inspected per hour to make sure pace of the game maintained. Why can't we have very thin clear plastic cover over cricket ground, I am sure it is not that expensive, to protect game from rain. Day night test is awesome idea with pink ball. Dew could be problem but I guess for spinners it's more like first two sessions of day will be great compare to last two session of the as of currently. Players will be spared with paying in hot conditions and there will be increased fans clubs too.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 23:36 GMT)

The problem of the old ball getting dull could be overcome using four balls in a row, for 20 overs each, to imitate an 80 over ball. Each ball in turn would have slightly different character (brand new ball first, then one with slightly less bounce and flatter seam, older one still etc) but all bright white. You could even provide a ball that would reverse swing. This is a bit like different tyres used in F1- super soft, soft, intermediates and wets used for different conditions.

Posted by gandhala on (August 22, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

Day and night test in india will help non sub continent teams. With dew factors spinners will be nullified completely. Already the art of spin is getting ruined day and night test in eliminate spinners from cricket completely. As more spinners play in sub continent and non will play/selected for day and night test

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

It's just 40 hours and 450 overs, so lets have 1 pm to 9 pm timings each day evening for 5 days and maximum of 450 overs as usual. I think any play beyond 9 pm will play havoc with player's health and sleep cycles. One problem which many are not realising as yet though is that tests are totally different from ODIs, and the dew factor at many venues could make the toss way more crucial than one would like !

Posted by rsiddiqi on (August 22, 2013, 15:14 GMT)

Very well said Sanjay. As a Pakistani fan, I was very disappointed by Sri Lanka's refusal to play D/N. I think its time we gave Test cricket an adrenaline shot and D/N may be just the thing (without changing the rules and the spirit of Test cricket).

Posted by CricketChat on (August 22, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

Like the ridicule that introduction of white balls in ODIs received back in early the 80s by all and sundry, resistance to this new day-night concept is only understandable. Day-night test matches are inevitable. Not only that, ticket packages consisting of individual sessions within a test match will be a norm within the next few years much like the "pay for only what you use" world that we live in now. I think that younger adults (below 40 yrs) make up 50-60% of the crowd and I don't think most can afford to sit through 5 days anymore.

Posted by Sagarneel on (August 22, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

More than anything, the ICC should appoint some top notch marketing professionals and business administrators with a passion for the game for a turn-around. We get an overdose of cricket these days, with so many meaningless games being played throughout the year. Cut those and bring in ideas to save Test matches!

Posted by sportofpain on (August 22, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

I like this very much. I have felt the same way about some of the peculiarities of cricket. Another example is stoppage of play if there is some slight movement behind the sightscreen - in the NBA when an opposing teams player is taking a free throw the fans are waving streamers and everything else possible to distract him but he has to just deal with it.

Night Test Cricket - heck what are we waiting for? That might be the ONLY thing that saves tests. We've had day night cricket for about 30 yrs now and it boggles the mind that tests are still not played at night.

Posted by KarthikRanganathan on (August 22, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

cricketanand12, your argument that more people coming to the stadiums will reduce the usage of TVs and ACs at home doesn't seem to hold much water. Entire families never flock to the stadiums to watch the game and so TVs and ACs will continue to be used at home by those not inclined to watching cricket. And, bringing ppl back to the stadiums is definitely not going to get rid of TV coverage. It will indeed be interesting to find out how much power will indeed be needed if all 3 forms of the game are reliant on day-night matches.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 6:48 GMT)

It is a Very Good Article Of Sanjay Manjrekar I am quit happy about d/n test and Pakistan always fevour of D/N tests and it is so bad news for me that Sri lanka refused Pakistan perposel of D/N test

Posted by Srivatsava8421 on (August 22, 2013, 6:06 GMT)

Its good to have a test cricket in day and night. I am eager to watch this format under lights. I would love to see the India playing under Lights. Common SLC the idea of playing under lights is good so make it possible. For all these years we are watching the test matches under sun light, now it is an opportunity for all the cricket fans to watch it under the moon light.

Posted by santoshjohnsamuel on (August 22, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

For heaven sake, increase the number of Tests being played -- and reduce the number of meaningless One Days and T-20s (there is news that the BCCI is putting pressure on the SA to reduce a Test and make it a two-Test Series) -- the fads can wait.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 2:42 GMT)

Good thinking Sanjay, I believe couple of matches should be played just to try between World 11 and Asia 11 to get the opinion of the players and umpires to follow with real test series if results are favorable.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

why sanjay cant convince bcci to accept DRS if he thinks there is no room for flawless cricket. SLC has declined this because of inexperiance of sl cricketers in day night long format matches and pak playershhave played day night first class matches. so there is a decisive advantage to pak. SLC has made a wise decision after a long time thinking team success

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 1:43 GMT)

this is one man sanjay manjrekar for whom i have great respect . always spot on and never wrong .

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

What a good article. There is always a lot of sense in Sanjay's comments. Here too what he has suggested makes a lot of sense. All he is saying is that experimenting day-night tests will do no harm. If it fails to deliver the desired results it can be done away with easily. I wonder why people are so scared of trying something different. Sanjay is not saying that the traditional day time test matches should be scrapped. He is merely suggesting that it would be good to experiment day-night tests and see how it works out.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

before suggesting other boards to play day and night matches,Sanjay should convince Indian cricket to accept DRS

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 20:50 GMT)

@Hammond: I do not necessariily have an opinion on day-night tests - but I believe that Test cricket is without a doubt the pinnacle of the game, there is nothing I would rather watch. However, I don't know whether day-night tests would help. I think that they would introduce a new element of strategy - bowling as the lights turn on, batting when dew emerges, bowling under the lights - which I think will (if nothing else) be really interesting. But I think that we need to: 1. expand the number of countries playing test cricket - right now Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are test nations, yet Ireland and Afghanistan who can and have competed as well as defeated (on occasions) these nations are not. 2. We need to make test cricket matter. We need to establish some sort of round-robin points table for a championship so that pointless series (ZIM vs BAN etc.) actually mean something. 3. Have more than the Ashes as the marquee series --> IND v PAK (5 tests) (No 1 vs No 2) should be 5 tests...

Posted by BowlersWinMatches on (August 21, 2013, 20:21 GMT)

So in day and night matches, there will be no lunch i guess!!!

Posted by Desihungama on (August 21, 2013, 20:13 GMT)

Well Sanjay I would have appreciated you or ICC commend Pakistan for taking the initiative. But nothing as usual. Sure the game will be played as D/N sooner rather than later. However, I am certain we will be deprived of that. Your fan from across the border.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 19:49 GMT)

fully agree

Posted by Karthiks_devils on (August 21, 2013, 19:17 GMT)

may be tests should only be played at neutral venues. Like india vs pak in australia.. and australia vs england in india... just for a change. One thing is that all the audience in india can see the match when they are not working, while the crowds in australia will throng the stadiums as it a spectale they never got to see before. India vs Pakistan in a test match.

Posted by Rahulbose on (August 21, 2013, 18:57 GMT)

Manjrekar writes a full article about declining interest in Test cricket without mentioning T20 or IPL. Yes playing conditions restriction should be more lax, specially for bad light cases. But that is hardly the main reason people no longer follow test cricket. Most test matches today have results, so playing time is not an issue. The real problem is T20 provides a more attractive alternative to the weekend or evening fan only looking for a good night out.

Posted by bddhika_harindat on (August 21, 2013, 18:52 GMT)

Your thought is good Mr.Manjrekar, but before you suggest the rest of the world to try it out, as an Indian you should inisist BCCI to take the initiative. Otherwise it will be another DRS. The entire cricketing world knows that it is BCCI who's opposing to implementing DRS across all formats of the game.

So you will have to do more home with your own board to change the attitude of the those who're in BCCI as well as current players led by Dhoni that obstruct the implementation of BCCI.

We also have seen that you're mostly critisizing SL cricket and its board whenever you've an opportunity. Appreciate if you could stop quoting Sri Lanka, make sure that BCCI is leading the way for Day-Night Test cricket.

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (August 21, 2013, 18:31 GMT)

Like someone said recently, getting the players to bowl 15 overs/hour is a good start. It is just ridiculous really that they can't get 90 overs in the given time. maybe bring in a law that says its a boundary if the ball cross the rope and not waste 5 minutes over whether the shoe lace touched the rope or not! These constant drink breaks, the whining about the light (as Sanjay says more politely)... Cricketers are a bit too pampered. And then there is the whole side-screen thing. I understand it is international cricket. But still,if test cricket needs to survive, the game needs some urgency in it. When we are done with all these, we can think of the day-nighters. The problem is, some of us, the audience, do not want Test cricket touched. We pay for it. We follow it religiously. Please keep the tinkering limited to T20s and ODIs. Or, you want to change the game for 'potential' audience that might never come and alienate the 'minority' that enjoy the current version?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

Hay Sanjaya im Sure BCCI will agree to play day and night test like they agreed with DRS :-P very funny :-P

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

Thats a poont ! When you can play in absolute bouncy tracks in SA, absolute turners in India, at their will, it favours bowlers, but just do that for day-night matches, in-order ther is due then it means two sessions to bowling and one to batting. We play night T20's , no one complaints about due. More than 50 matches in the IPL and rarely a match affected by it. These are over-cautionary measures. Get Tests on the line before it just becomes a compulsion to fulfill. AND DAY/night tests are best way for that.

Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (August 21, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

Delightful to see such good thinking coming from distinguished player-commentators from India, the wheelhouse of cricket in our time. Combine the comments and ideas of Dravid and Manjrekar, and you have as firm a foundation as these two batsmen could have ever provided out in the middle in their golden periods of form. I look to these two Indian sportsmen-statesmen to form a new off-field partnership to prevail upon the Great Men in the Skyboxes to change their direction, remove the rupees and other coinage from their eyeballs, and set about the essential business of making the changes in playing conditions and governance that the cricket so desperately needs right now. Great things would surely come if Dravid and Manjrekar called for an ICCC - an Internat'l Cricket Constitutional Convention.

Posted by amk23 on (August 21, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

Nice One !!! Even though I love Tests, I just tend to follow them through online scores and updates. They are played in day hours which is office timiings for working people. If the tests are in day-night schedule. I can just go to the statdium in the evening to watch it OR I can watch it on the TV in the evening without missing the good ' leaving the ball - missing an edge' interactions instead of highlights package which has fours, sixes and wickets...

Posted by Zohair.ul.hasan on (August 21, 2013, 15:41 GMT)

Pink ball! One of the best Ideas! Day Night Test Cricket might make test cricket more thrillling!!! Why not try it??......

Posted by Rizwan16 on (August 21, 2013, 15:33 GMT)

I believe Sanjay is 100 percent right in saying 'let's evolve with the times'. Being a life-long fan of this great sport, it pains me to see that we still walk off for bad light or rain delays. Cricket needs to find ways and means to make the sport played in a fixed time slot. Who needs shortened games or recalculated targets? The best way to do all this to evolve with the times. Investing in stadiums with roofs would be a good idea. And yeah, night cricket should be big fun. It will happen. The sooner the better. I second what Sanjay said in this piece.

Posted by dravid_rules on (August 21, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

Why change "tradition"? So that it may endure (albiet in a miniscully modified form). Does anybody seriously think that a form of game watched by a handful of spectators live and just a few more on TV (and just followed as news-reports by hordes) is going to survive any length of time?

Wimbledon sticks to its traditions because there is no need for a change. Heck, they changed. They have a rooftop (Not tradition). And I can guarantee that the day their audiences start dropping seriously, they will go to colored clothing and more razz-ma-tazz.

I am a traditionalist and love Test cricket. It is precisely for that reason that I am all for day-night tests. So, that Test cricket may survive.

Posted by inswing on (August 21, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

Manjarekar is absolutely right. The idea that test cricket doesn't need to be entertaining or crowd pleasing or popular is amusing. There is one, and only one, reason why test cricket - or any other pro game - exists: spectators. Test cricket doesn't have many of those. To anyone interested in saving it, everything must be done to bring in spectators, including day/night games and free/cheap tickets.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

i am a ardent cricket fan too but wating "precious" power for a sport event which can be played in the day is criminal, open up the grounds for free and make tv viewing pay per view, no day night matches unless we find a way to harness solar/wind eenergy...industries and households go without power for godsakes!!

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 14:58 GMT)

good one! SLC missed a great opportunity to write its name in history....good initiative by PCB....I hope some board responds postively.

Posted by S.N.Singh on (August 21, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

Mr.Manjrekar, based on present day night cricket, bowlers are getting hard time and it is difficult to bowl a wet (dew) ball. For the purpose of making money, you might get a little more spectators coming out but since people are having access to T.V. i would prefer to stay home in the night and watch the game. Presently now in the day i prefer to see the game on T.V. You get a better view of the game at home.What you should concentrate on is to get the ICC to play more 5 test series as when you were playing. People want to see more 5 day cricket around the world. night cricket will suite me because I can get to see India and Sri Lanka in the day (US) my favorite teams. I could remember Kerry Paker series played in the night we should find out from Sobers,Kalicharran etc. how it works. Another why are we using a Neutral Venue to Play 5 day cricket ? is some one paying for their team to play. Please moderate and post. thank you S.N.Singh USA

Posted by swalter66 on (August 21, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

I love the way the cricinfo featured comments always support the author's point of view. If that's cricinfo's idea of a balanced opinion, give me the BBC and TMS every time

Posted by stealers_123 on (August 21, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

Absolutely, this is what I was waiting for since many years. Why not play test matches in day light?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 13:05 GMT)

yes Sanjay, may be BCCI will respond very positively.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 11:54 GMT)

Playing day-night Test cricket would be like playing Wimbledon with coloured clothings, eroding the tradition. Let there be t20s and let there be tests in their current forms.

Posted by Hammond on (August 21, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

@Beertjie- I don't need to go back to the 20's to enjoy great test cricket. It is being played right now as I am typing this. Simple fact though that test cricket has been played under (roughly) the same conditions since 1877. The system obviously works. Why ruin it?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

no way, day night test cricket is silly. test cricket is a traditional form of the game, test cricket is great how it is. theres no need to change. we have two other forms of the game that are crowd pleasers, as well as test cricket. let the traditional lovers of cricket enjoy proper cricket and if you want spectators enjoying cricket who dont like tests then watch t20 and one dayers. Please don't tamper with test cricket. test cricket tragics need it.

Posted by Beertjie on (August 21, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

Well now, @ Hammond on (August 21, 2013, 9:06 GMT), I see why you chose the monniker - still stuck in the 20s like the great man! I dispute that you are a greater test cricket lover than I am, or one as dismayed by the shorter forms which I barely watch. But the world has moved on - there is a living to be made by fans such as us, yet we still want to come to the game and watch a few hours of our beloved test cricket.How can day-night cricket affect that except if you insist on unchanging conditions. The great Hammond played on uncovered pitches, but for decades his successors have not. Do you have problems with statistical comparisons if day-night cricket affected the averages? Give it a go, mate!

Posted by Beertjie on (August 21, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

Spot on, Sanjay! Superbly adduced considerations.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

A very nice article. Sanjay has rightly asked the BCCI to experiment with day-night first-class matches. Probably he does not know that the last two Quaid e Azam Trophy finals (first-class matches) were day-night fixtures played in the National Stadium Karachi and that experiment has been a success with a pink ball.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

The problem with Test cricket isn't the lack of Day/Night games or low audience members, the problem is much deeper than that and revolves our modern society's need for immediate gratification. The skill and the draw of Test cricket shouldn't be revolving around big 6's and flat batting tracks, it should be about the mental and physical discipline required to defeat your opponent over 5 consecutive days of exertion. One merely has to look at the collapse of Australian cricket to see the evidence of that. Perhaps instead of pandering to the masses warped needs we set about educating them on the joys of Test cricket, advertise the skill and strategy required during drink breaks and innings changes in T20 and ODI matches. As marketers have long known, tell the people what they will like and they will like it. Perhaps if the various Board members weren't so interested in lining their pockets...

Posted by Timmuh on (August 21, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

I'm fine with day/night cricket, once the ball is test at "A" and first class level and where conditions suit. Dew is a definite problem in many place. Mr Manjrekar's experience with night time first class cricket appears to be different to that here in Australia. When day/night games were played in the 1990s here it made not one iota of difference to the dismal attendances.

Posted by Hammond on (August 21, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

No day night test cricket. If the rest of the world doesn't like playing (or watching) test cricket anymore then bad luck, their loss. Don't corrupt the true long game just to make a buck, get that from the pretend cricket played within limited overs. Leave test cricket alone.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

Excellent thoughts and suggessions !

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

A superb article Sanjay. I'm a Srilankan, and was extremely excited about PCB's innovative suggestion. But sadly, BCCSL just missed the chance of making history.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

Frankly speaking night test cricket is a freaking nightmare as rightly identified by SLC cricket board. Good and right decision. If anybody want to remain sleepless for continues five days unless you holds a media company watching revenue cash cow growing your business. More cash is not always good for cricket.

Posted by applethief on (August 21, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

A big problem is he veneration of "seniors" that cricket seems to sufer from. Boards and officials are elevated ex-players, or else other older minds who have their wisdom and experience prized, at the expense of being of the generation that they are trying to market the game to. If we had some younger minds, and current fans of the game in places of authority, we wouldn't be so hesitant to keep up with the way the rest of the world is

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

Their should be a momentary day night test cricket between india and pakistan, Like Ashes. Will be a value for money , and test cricket will long laster than ever...

Posted by azeesajid on (August 21, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

Excellent article by sanjay. i always enjoyed his commentary. Nicely written article for supporting day night test cricket. Didn't understand why stupid slcb has refused to play day night test even there was not any danger of dew etc.

Posted by MurtaMac on (August 21, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

Well written Sanjay. As a Pakistani who loves test Cricket and values it more than any number of T20s I was hoping SL would agree to Day and Night Tests but their unfavorable response sets a very negative tone in a part of the world where the Test game is struggling. We need to draw crowds in and for that wholesale changes like D/N Tests are crucial. I thought the PCB took a fantastic initiative by inviting SL and I feel its an opportunity missed of SL's part.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

Great article. Cricket really DOES need a chill pill. Though I have to agree that Sri Lanka's particular concern that their players are not used to the pink ball does have some validity - not much, but some. What cricket needs is to trial the pink ball in T20s and ODIs. May be start with the IPL. That is the next logical step considering that it is apparently a success at the first class level. However, only when the world sees that it can work - on their own TV screens - will the dissenters be convinced. Also, this is one area where I don't think BCCI would have an issue. Say what you want about the BCCI, they definitely do not miss any opportunity to make money. And D/N tests are money. One successful season of the IPL with the pink ball is the simplest solution for the birth of D/N test cricket.

Posted by yeh_cheezzz on (August 21, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

I have noticed PCB is trying its best to introduce something new to the cricket.. they are the only ones who seems interested inn playing test under lights whereas other board looks worried. I don't know what the issue if we play under lights both teams will face same problems, if there are any... PCB has tried few of their domestic matches under lights and they looked interesting... I think other boards need to step up and try something new and different to keep cricket exciting. I totally agree we make too much issue of small things

Posted by Reuben_Kincaid on (August 21, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

I agree. Players and boards need to stop finding reasons not to play Tests at night, and just accommodate the compromises. There will always be reasons not to play day-night Tests. But I can envisage that if Tests had been day-night from the start, and then daytime Tests were suggested, the Players and boards would find reasons not to start at 11am - It would mean playing in the peak heat of the day, there can be morning dew still on the ground, a red ball is hard to see against the crowds…

Posted by cricketanand12 on (August 21, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

Yes,huge amount of electricity would be wasted because more than 1000 families will turn-off lights,fans,T.V.s,P.C.s, A.C.s in their home and they will have common lightening system and cooling system in the stadium.It is better that people suggesting the wastage of resources conserve it themselves. Day-Night matches is a great idea.It will increase spectators,viewers,interest in the game and more young children endeavouring to become a test cricketer.Don't be conservative,people become old and die,then why don't traditions?

Posted by Ramfromlanka on (August 21, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

Sanjay Manjrekar - do you realize the amount of fossil fuel which need to be burnt to provide un-interrupted power for day-night tests? Do you realize the amount of ecological imbalance caused due to variation in light, heat?...Why can't one look at changing test cricket's basic rules which includes 5 day period, 4 innings format? Why only commercial value to promote tests AT ANY COST is being looked at?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

well said ! Day night test cricket is the way to go , in cool conditions at night it will be a good sport to play and large crowds will come .the conditions will be challenging but thats the fun in cricket .Btw srilanka doesnt want day night test cricket because it doesnt have money to have good quality flood lights which r essential for day night test cricket

Posted by VipinPK on (August 21, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

I was always thinking the same why cricketers are always thinking of injuries, It was such a stupid thing to stop play when the outfield is wet, but not raining. We can always continue playing, take it as a sportsmanship. Some body may argue to this point by saying, it will only affect the fielding side who is fielding then, when the next team fields it will become better. I have answer for that also. When you play in test match, ball tends to swing more under clouds, It wont be cloudy always right, then you should stop playing when it is cloudy, because it is giving more advantage to then bowling team.

Posted by msnsrinivas on (August 21, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

Thanks for that article at a time when common sense is becoming elusive in all walks of life.

Posted by EngineerKhan on (August 21, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

Not only SLC, but even ICC seems to have no care about it.

PCB, despite all mis-management has experimented and most of them benefiting the Cricket world like Neutral Umpires, trialling the Day-Night Tests in its Premier FC tournament as well as adopting T20 tournament as early as 2005, (it was "host" of first-ever official DRS test in New Zealand, 2009)

SL has deprived not only its team of a chance to make the history but also the fans.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

Yes sanjay,,why not !!! IF you are ready to handle all the injury expenses of the cricketers !!! what a mindless article by sanjay !!! thou i agree a little bit !! :D Please post this Cricinfo !!

Posted by WalkingWicket11 on (August 21, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

What's with all the former cricketers and experts going gaga over day-night Tests? Have you ever stopped to think the enormous waste of electricity it would cause? It is pretty disappointing that instead of demanding a ban on day-night cricket in other formats, they are encouraging even more wastage of natural resources. There are more important things in life than playing some game. The world and especially the developing countries, can ill afford such wastage.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

Frankly I would love to see the Innovation of Playing Test Cricket Day and Night... It will not only attract audience to the Group but also encourage Young Kids to play test cricket; who are mostly in the school when the Test is played.. I understand that Test Cricket brings patience and personality stability to both the player and audience..

It was Good Move by PCB... However lets see when we able to watch first Day and Night Test Match..

Posted by Aizyv on (August 21, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

Test matches should be changed to 1 innings instead of 2 innings and 4 days instead of 5.There should be 1 standard pitch all over the world, 1 standard type of ball every where and in all formats.no matter how much u try to rescue tests it will die out eventually if u dnt make the changes.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

Nice Article Sanjay BHAI.. the dew factor is not only for one side both have to bat & bowl twice. So this is not an excuse for professional cricketers..They also play DAYNIGHT Oneday & T20 there is also Dew why dont they excuse.So to me this IS NOT AN EXCUSE being a proffessional cricketer.We play Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Final Day night that was a great final. COMEON SRILANKA MAKE A HISTROY URSELF. Dont copy others. If australia r India play a day night test then im sure u will copy them and well play....

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (August 21, 2013, 4:44 GMT)

it is very difficult to make test cricket more intresting especially after invention of t20

Posted by KarthikRanganathan on (August 21, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

Sanjay, You've made some valid arguments for day-night Test cricket and I believe even Dravid has echoed your thoughts. However, aren't we completely ignoring the issue of additional electricity being needed? Day-night test cricket will require day-night first-class cricket to ensure consistency, and this can very well lead to a situation where most of the cricket (short forms and long forms) are completely played under lights, requiring vast amounts of additional electricity. Can a country like India (and probably even the rest of the world) even afford to expend so much energy towards facilitating the playing of a game that can otherwise perfectly be played in broad daylight? Cricket might win for now, but the bigger picture seems even more daunting.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

ya ak took a bold step by taking the initiative..our players were very eager to experiment with the pink ball.in pakistan every kind of cricket is played...even in my village i hv seen matches played under normal lights of a camera..passing over the field in lines..and tennis being soaked in choona (mortar) after every over for visibility...in every city u will see different methods used...so it will b fun to see some experimentation at the top level as well...

Posted by prakash_ajp on (August 21, 2013, 4:28 GMT)

May not be a bad idea at all. But there might be one more reason for the poor turn out in the stadium for test matches - the amount of cricket being played any time. About time we let go of one format? My vote would be for T20 :)

Posted by cricketanand12 on (August 21, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

Very well written.The best think about sanjay is that he has faced different eras of modern cricket all around the world. Cricket is all about entertainment.We change or sacrifice several traditions everyday.If traditional cricket can not entertain people anymore,then it ought be changed.Test Cricket needs to be changed because in this era no one has enough time to watch this format thorughout the day.Then why should we carry old burden of test cricket.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 4:26 GMT)

The idea of playing Tests at night is nothing new. In fact one of the first times it was talked about was when the touring NZ team came back from Australia in 1980-81 and had marvelled in their first experiences of playing one day cricket under lights. There was discussion in the team at the time about seeing if it could work if it could get generate support with the national body back home. Unfortunately NZ Cricket (or as it was known back then as the NZ Cricket Council) showed a lack of interest towards the possible venture. Of course it did become somewhat of a reality in NZ 22 years later when NZ batted against England under lights in the third Test at Eden Park. Despite the success shown by the NZ team that night, logistical problems such as the difficulty of trying to pick up a red ball from a darkened backdrop meant that the idea was again dropped out of sight.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

I totally support this, you can argue that it could unfairly favor one team but then again so does winning the toss, rain, amount of cloud cover etc that we already have. Also if I ever a saw a sight that will kill test cricket its players coming off in bad light at grounds that have floodlights, turn them on!

Posted by richard-munir on (August 21, 2013, 4:23 GMT)

Totally agreed that the soul of the cricket is Test matches, and it'll be excellent timing, the lights are working perfectly now-a-days and it's been great atmosphere during night cricket. I love Cricket, I just hope that sub-continent cricket board should starts playing night test matches with out any delay, it'll like fresh breath in the test match games. Specially it'll be something for INA,PAK,S.L., B.D., to show their peoples, some kind of updated version of this game and peoples mindset will also change for better things in life. These four cricket board should invest in development of the game, like indoor stadiums or folding roof on the stadiums, drop in pitches, so in any conditions game should go on. I would like to see them promoter of the game and experimenting. It's time to grow and get the modern touch in the games from the administration's point. Ticketing, inside stadium services, to keep updating, wishing to see the best efforts from our boards, good time to start now

Posted by GRVJPR on (August 21, 2013, 4:19 GMT)

One thing about all these ideas is that, that they come out when the idea giver is retired from international cricket. Sanjay, Dravid all throwing up ideas. Good.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 4:17 GMT)

One of the best articles I have read in recent times. Couldn't agree more !!!!

Posted by getsetgopk on (August 21, 2013, 4:10 GMT)

Agree with Sanjay on this article completely. I think the SLC dudes are living on some other planet when they say its an important series and we would like to give ourselves every chance of winning it simply because there are hardly ten people watching it in SL. They had to shut shop on SLPL after losses of one year the reason being the same, there is not much interest in cricket in SL, not even T20. Winning and losing doesn't matter when there is no interest left in the game in your country. As for this excuse of having not much experience playing pink ball at night, why dont they use it in their domestic season? What are they waiting for? Always cash strapped and always full of excuses despite the fact they play against india twice or sometimes thrice a year and they still didn't had enough money to pay for DRS in the 2011 Pak-SL test series. This was a wonderful chance offered by PCB to bring some excitement to the long format and now they have thrown that away, disappointing.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 4:10 GMT)

completely agree. Great piece Sanjay.

Posted by S.h.a.d.a.b on (August 21, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

Two things: Do not use color clothing and pls bring back rest day, a "strategic time-out" between a test matches.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

well said Sanjay!just try out few d/n tests and see the outcome.Who would have thought ODI cricket in coloured clothing/white ball will be brilliant before WSC?

Posted by Gurudumu on (August 21, 2013, 3:29 GMT)

Cricket administrators take note of Sanjay's brilliant analysis and reasoning. Stop molly coddling cricketers and answer to the customers (paying public) who are the very reason why cricket is played. Kudos Sanjay!!

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