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NZC 'very excited' by prospect of day-night Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

August 31, 2013

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The light closes in on at The Oval, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 5th day, August 25, 2013
NZC chief executive David White on day-night Tests: "There are strong, strong commercial opportunities there for us." © PA Photos
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New Zealand Cricket is "very excited" about the prospect of playing a day-night Test on their tour of Australia in late 2015, after Cricket Australia announced plans to trial floodlit long-form cricket in the Sheffield Shield this summer. The Australian Cricketers' Association said that while it needed to be convinced on several aspects, particularly the durability of the pink ball, it was approaching the issue with an "open mind".

The potential to attract a much larger television viewership in the evening by roping in audiences in India and other big markets was of chief interest to NZC, according to chief executive David White. "'We are very interested in the concept,"' White was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald. "'I don't think anyone is trying to make out that this is going to replace Test cricket as we know it. From a New Zealand Cricket perspective, if it's successful we would maybe play one game a series. It will give people an opportunity to watch the game after work or after school, at the game and on the television, so that's got commercial possibilities.

"'Our time zone with the northern hemisphere and India is not the most advantageous at the moment. By playing at night it opens up a lot more opportunity from an international broadcast point of view in terms of a better time zone. So there are strong, strong commercial opportunities there for us.'"

While the administrators are enticed by the promise of enhanced revenues, ACA chief executive Paul Marsh sounded caution, saying players weren't entirely convinced yet and would not want the "integrity of the game" to be compromised.

"At the moment the support from the players is divided. It's roughly 50-50 in terms of players who think day-night Test cricket should be pursued and that has moved towards more support over time,'' Marsh said. ''Our view on any playing condition has always been that it must be trialled at domestic level before it gets to international level and I'm glad they are going down that path.

"In saying that, we are sceptical about the ability of the ball to stand up and that's been the problemā€¦ you don't want, by going down this path, to lose the integrity of the game and if you have a ball that is not going to stand up for 80 overs, then I think you have to look at it and say it can't be taken to Test level.

''We're going into this with an open mind but there are issues we believe exist and we would need to be convinced they can be overcomeā€¦ if all goes well, it is something that could happen."

White said while it was crucial that players are not disadvantaged at any time during the match, including on the visibility front, recent progress in the development of the pink ball had been encouraging. ''There has been talk about the twilight as a difficult time to bat. The ball is really interesting. I think we're up to version six of the pink ball and initially my understanding was that it discoloured quickly, whereas now it's a lot better.''

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Little_Aussie_Battler on (September 2, 2013, 0:25 GMT)

In theory it sounds like a good idea to play into the night with a more visible ball. The problem is seems is the pink balls. Trials staged in England came back a definitive no. Some players even suggesting that it will not happen in their lifetimes.

It is all about the ball in the end and the technology is just not quite right yet. Possibly two or three seasons to improve it at first class level before a consensus is reached.

End of the day, we need this to work to get test match cricket viable again for the series against lesser nations outside the big four.

Posted by chechong0114 on (September 2, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

New Zealand should try playing a test match under lights when the West Indies tour that country in December this year.

Posted by TheDreadPirateRoberts on (September 1, 2013, 23:14 GMT)

With tests played in the morning, ODIs in the afternoon and T20 at night every tour has something for the television audience in just about every time zone, and that's something no other sport has.

New Zealand fans will miss out if test cricket is moved for viewers in more populous time zones (which is all of them).

NZ should be more concerned with the television audience in NEW ZEALAND. A day-night game in Perth finishes at 2am in NZ.

Posted by mcdro441 on (September 1, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

@johnathonjosephs, @Mohit Sharma, @Cpt.Meanster, @512fm, I think what David White is trying to say is that, with day/night tests, if NZ/Aus are playing India, then the times will be more suitable for both time zones, than it is for the current day tests. For example, if India are playing in NZ, it would air 9am-5pm in India, not far off a day test played in India, compared to 5am - 1pm. I don't think he was suggesting there is a huge contingent of Indians wishing they could catch the tests between NZ and Aus!

Posted by ozone8237 on (September 1, 2013, 20:12 GMT)

To Me Playing Test Cricket in Flood Lights is a Great idea but targeting a certain market and having high hopes of revenues and public interest is way too compromising. Test Cricket being played in flood lights is itself a thrill within itself. In one of the article about Pakistan's suggestion to Sri Lanka for playing their test series in UAE under flood lights I wrote the same thing in my comments that most fans who cannot make it to the grounds for five days in the day time peak hours of work that is the crucial and prime time for earning their livelihood can crowd the stadiums in evening hours leading to revenue generation, rejuvenate the Test cricket and providing an alternate to play in evening time when high burning heat makes it almost impossible to play Test cricket in day time that affects the performance of the players especially the fast bowlers. As far as the durability of the pink ball is concerned its only the color and time that will change not the material of the ball.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

"I don't think anyone is trying to make out that this is going to replace Test cricket as we know it" - this is just a ridiculous statement. All D/N test cricket needs is the pink ball to be successful and if that happens then within a max of 5 years, all international cricket - tests, odis, t20s - will be played with the pink ball, most of it UNDER LIGHTS (like limited overs cricket is played today). The only exception would be grounds which don't have floodlights. Its absolutely ridiculous to play sport at times when most people are at work. If its possible, there is no reason why most tests shouldn't move to D/N - and provided the pink ball works, it really is just a matter of time.

Posted by AamirKhan-SuperStar on (September 1, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

Indians! We watch any form of cricket involving any teams be it lesser teams or be it well known ones or be it even the HK sixes. Its in our blood. Yes we do follow international cricket from all around the world. I think day night test cricket will be a big hit from spectators point of view. But i do agree it should passed first by the authorities.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

Playing Test cricket at night is not something new in terms of being proposed. The first time it happened was when the NZ team went to Australia in 1980-81, where they played one day internationals under lights. After the tour (which will always be remembered for the underarm affair), the NZ player John Parker talked about having Tests under lights and even took it to one of two NZ cricket officials, only to have the idea rejected. Of course it did happen unofficially in 2002-03 when NZ played England under lights in the third Test at Eden Park during one afternoon when the light got too bad and they had the option to carry on once the lights were switched on in order to try and put them into a winning position.

Although it was duly done and some success came out of it, it has never been repeated, possibly because at the time the NZ batsmen complained that the red ball was hard to pick out of the dark crowd in the background. Will be interesting to see how they combat that problem.

Posted by Alexk400 on (September 1, 2013, 3:05 GMT)

1 match in series should be night game is ok

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 2:27 GMT)

Angus Bell, I seem to remember orange being trialled several years ago when the ECB first proposed day/night matches and it was found pink was easier for the players and more crucially tv to pick up.

I was thinking about the unfairness of bowling / batting at dusk but then realised that on an English summers day the ball can swing like a banana when new and in the early morning which nobody complains about and freely accepts so we would be eliminating one challenge but presenting another and the best players will prosper....the only issue might be that day/night is not suitable to ALL countries due to dew.

Look on the brightside, at least we would not get the farce that we had in the 5th Test at the Oval ;)

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