New Zealand keen to play even if only two days remain

Lynn McConnell

December 19, 2001

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Even if another day is washed out of the first National Bank New Zealand-Bangladesh Test match, New Zealand is likely to try to secure a victory.

New Zealand Cricket's chief executive Martin Snedden said there had been no discussion about calling the Test off after the first two days have been lost to rain, with the prospect of more rain tomorrow.

"Actually, I talked with Stephen Fleming [NZ captain] about the situation and as far as he was concerned there were 14 hours of play left and he was prepared to back himself to try to secure a victory," Snedden said.

However, Snedden did add that if the third and fourth days were washed out then something else might be looked at for the fifth and final day.

"The other thing is we can use the lights here, so there is still a lot of time left in the match," he said.

Play was called off today at 3.38pm when another rain shower washed over the ground.

The only thing achieved on the day was the toss at 11am which was won by visiting captain Khaled Mashud. He immediately asked New Zealand to bat first.

The morning had started out fine, but humid, with clouds lurking ominously to the south.

However, all the preparations were made and it was cruel luck that just before the players were due to come out to start the game and give it the official status of a Test match, the rain came in.

It was light rain to start with but got heavier and while there were a couple of breaks during the day, it didn't let up sufficiently for any drying to take place and with a decision at 3pm to look again at 5pm to assess the conditions, there was a prospect of play.

But more rain forced the umpires, Tony Hill of New Zealand and David Orchard of South Africa to reassess the situation and they abandoned play at 3.38pm.

Snedden said afterwards that from his point of view the abandonment of the Test, should it occur, would not affect the status of the match for consideration for the ICC Test Championship.

"It would still be counted. It is a scheduled Test. The fact they have tossed takes it to another level," he said.

With the loss of the first day's play any follow-on target the team batting second may have to face is reduced to within 150 runs of the side batting first.

Because the hours of play will be extended if play was to start at 11.30am and continue through until the scheduled finish on Saturday evening, 315 overs minimum, representing 105 overs a day, would be available to contest the match.

Snedden said that Fleming was in a fairly attacking-minded mood at the moment and would be looking for a win.

Snedden also confirmed today that he had sent his letter to the International Cricket Council about the standard of umpiring at Test level.

This followed comments he made about the standard of umpiring in the third New Zealand-Australia Test match in Perth where both umpires Darrell Hair and Ian Robinson of Zimbabwe were criticised by Snedden.

"My comments were effectively what I said publicly.

"I also wrote about the use of technology in the game and that where it was possible to use technology to make accurate, and quick, decisions it seemed right to use it.

"The ICC have taken things a long way forward from what they were," he said.

However, he said that the failure to use technology for decisions in the third Test had sparked off a debate across both Australia and New Zealand about the extent to which technology should be used.

Snedden did say that the New Zealand players were not over-keen about greater use of technology despite being on the receiving end of bad decisions in the Test series.

"Flem is fairly cautious about it and he respects the role of the umpires and with that he accepts mistakes will be made.

"But it is something I will look to discuss more with the players," he said.

Snedden added that New Zealand was one of the few countries with such a stance towards technology.

"My view though is that if there are ways we can improve on making more accurate decisions then we should be doing it," he said.

Snedden has had no reaction yet from the ICC to his letter and doesn't expect any for the next two or three weeks.

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