PCB mulls day-night Tests against Sri Lanka
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has offered Sri Lanka Cricket a chance to play a day-night Test on their tour to the United Arab Emirates in winter. Two of three Tests on the tour are scheduled in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and these could be potential venues to host the day-night Test.
The ICC last year approved the idea of day-night Test matches but left it to member boards to decide on the hours of play and the colour of the ball to be used. No board so far has considered playing day-night Tests, but the PCB has shown interest in trying out the format. The board has organised day-night first-class matches and a few MCC fixtures in Abu Dhabi have also been played under lights.
"We have offered to play a Test match under lights," Nadeem Sarwar, the PCB spokesman, told ESPNcricinfo. "We are keen to experiment with day-night Test cricket as we believe that this would help in reviving interest in the format. The major aspect in our discussion is the correspondence on the colour and brand of the ball. The venues are definitely ideal and there is no dew factor involved in December and January."
Sri Lanka have not conducted any trials for day-night first-class or Test cricket, but appear positively disposed to the prospect of being a part of the first floodlit Test.* Sri Lanka Cricket president Jayantha Dharmadasa said SLC had not yet discussed the subject at length, but suggested that unless major objections arose in talks, Sri Lanka would agree to play the match under lights.
"We shouldn't say no if the only reason is that it doesn't suit us," Dharmadasa said. "In the past we've had 50-over cricket come into the game, then Twenty20s. In the future it will be day-night Tests. It would be a good thing for us to be part of the first day-night Test. People will be looking at it. I've still got to talk to the cricket committee, the selectors, and the cricketers, so we'll see what comes out of those meetings."
Sarwar said that a day-night Test could attract spectators and broadcasters. "Preliminary enquiries have revealed that there is an interest amongst sponsors and broadcasters in day-night Test cricket as it could add commercial momentum," Sarwar added. "We also anticipate greater spectator interest compared to an all-day Test match. PCB has conducted trials of day-night, domestic first-class matches and, for us, this will be an exciting experiment, subject, of course, to agreement by Sri Lanka Cricket Board."
Pakistan will host Sri Lanka in the UAE between December 2013 and January 2014 for a bilateral series that includes three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20s. The series, the second bilateral contest between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the UAE, will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The first Test has been scheduled for December 31 in Dubai, while Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will host the second and third Tests, from January 8 and January 16.
*07.15GMT, August 15: This article has been updated with the SLC's response
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here