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August 31, 2013
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 problem… 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 overcome… 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.
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