It seems unthinkable that there was once a time when the Sunday of a Test was used as a rest day. Equally, it is hard to imagine spectators being prepared to sit through games with pedestrian scoring rates - it was 2.30 runs to the over in Test cricket in the 1950s - or the sort of safety-first cricket that saw a six-match series between India and England in 1981-82 finish in a 1-0 victory to India.

The world has changed. It's less patient. There are more leisure options available and what might once have been found acceptable now seems intolerably antiquated. We see far fewer draws, improved drainage has resulted in far shorter delays for rain and the rate of scoring… well, the advent of T20 has seen it change out of all recognition. Cricket might well never have been more entertaining.

One of the few areas the game hasn't made much progress is on the issue of bad light. Despite the improvement of protective equipment and use of floodlights, interruptions to the second Test between England and Pakistan have been pretty common. As a result, the momentum of games is dissipated. Spectators (when they are allowed in) become frustrated and, inevitably, drift off to other pursuits.

ALSO READ: England 'a little disappointed' not to bowl Pakistan out - Broad

How bad was the light on day two in Southampton? Well, it wasn't perfect. Clouds hung around the Ageas Bowl all day and the floodlights were on at all times.

But, two balls before the players came off, Mohammad Rizwan had driven Stuart Broad through the covers. A couple of balls before that, he had skipped down the pitch and driven him over mid-off. He later said he had been "ready to play". So it wasn't the batting side that wanted to come off.

James Anderson, meanwhile, suggested the fielding side hadn't wanted to come off, either. "We're a little bit frustrated we didn't get a chance to finish them off," he said. "It didn't seem like the batmen were struggling too much."

So, it wasn't the batsmen who wanted to come off. And it wasn't the bowlers, either.

It may also be revealing to reflect on the start of the day. With poor weather preventing play before 12.30pm and a poor forecast suggesting an early finish, it might have made sense to play as much cricket as possible once the resumption happened. A two-hour session, at least, seemed feasible.

Instead, after one hour of cricket, we had a 40-minute lunch break at 1.30pm.

Why? Well, that's the way it's always been. Nobody involved seems to have the gumption to do things differently and nobody involved seems to have a huge amount of respect for the paying customer. On the issue of bad light, in particular, the game still relies on hand-me-down thinking - much of it inculcated before batsmen wore helmets - that is starting to look absurdly archaic.

(As an aside, Rod Bransgrove, the chair of Hampshire, says he did explore the possibility of putting a roof over the ground. It was possible from an engineering point of view, he found, but would have cost over £100m, and this was a few years ago.)

The ICC and its Members have to put spectators at the heart of future plans. At present, the game is run by people who have forgotten what it's like to pay to watch cricket

Let's put all this in context. In the short term, this Test series is being played during a pandemic. Both sides have made huge sacrifices to take part. Already, some of the established features of the game - such as using saliva to shine the ball - have been abandoned for safety reasons. At a time when schools and offices are shut, the ECB has created something close to a bio-secure bubble at vast expense. Both teams have been prepared to spend weeks in lockdown in, at times, modest hotels. All to ensure this series takes place and English cricket avoids financial meltdown.

Meanwhile, in the longer term, the ECB has warned its stakeholders that the next broadcast deal could be worth 50% of the value of the current one. As a result, it remains imperative to provide an attractive product that can be staged with some of predictability. Several hours of men squinting at clouds might not be exactly what the broadcasters are after.

The point is, everyone involved has been forced to adapt to ensure this series is played. Yet at no stage do the umpires appear prepared to consider this context. They have been given too much power - even if it was in response to players previously being "offered" the light and using it arbitrarily according to the match situation.

The ICC previously tried to persuade players to "bite the bullet" and play on using floodlights. "However that approach wasn't accepted by any of the teams," David Richardson, then chief executive, said in 2015. "They felt that would be unfair and would lead to unjust finishes."

The playing regulations now state play can be suspended if, in the umpires' view, conditions are "dangerous" or "unreasonable" to continue. There is a further caveat stating: "Conditions shall not be regarded as either dangerous or unreasonable merely because they are not ideal."

Those definitions are subjective, however. The word "dangerous" can be utilised at pretty much any time. In Manchester, during the first Test, England's fielders said they "couldn't see" the ball. Not, you'll note, that it was harder to see it; that they couldn't see it at all.

Now, we already accept that batting or fielding in some conditions is tricky. We accept that atmospheric conditions can change over the course of a day (or match), giving one side or another an advantage. We accept, too, that wearing pitches can make batting last a huge disadvantage. And we accept that players can sometimes struggle to follow the path of the ball against a background of packed stands or a bright sun. So why don't we also accept that less-than-perfect light can, within reason, provide another dimension to the game?

Safety has to be paramount, of course, and that is the line the ICC continues to stress. But using "health and safety" as a blanket answer to any question over this subject is disingenuous and limits the scope for debate and progression.

Because, if we're honest, the game needs to strike a balance between health and safety and competitive edge all the time. Was it safe when Jofra Archer was bowling at 96mph last summer? Is it safe when tailenders are on the end of a barrage of bouncers? Is it safe for bowlers or umpires in T20 or ODI cricket? Why is it only when the light is involved that the ICC and the umpires adopt a safety-first approach? And if we're really in the business of minimising risk, shouldn't the umpires be wearing helmets and all fielders be wearing some sort of head and neck protection? If we want to eliminate all risk, let's have a conversation about using a different type of ball. If safety really is the ICC's top priority, that's the logical direction of travel.

Short of that, what can be done? Well, we could also talk about using pink balls in such situations. It's not uncommon to utilise heavier bails in windy conditions; maybe it should become established practice to change the ball in poor light? Yes, it might behave differently. But it behaves differently under cloud, after rain and according to the natural variation of it having been handmade, too. We accept that.

ALSO READ: Umpire Kettleborough spoken to by anti-corruption officials over smartwatch

More pertinently, the ICC could conduct research in partnership with the appropriate scientific bodies (friends in eye places, if you will) and come up with a standardised level at which play is deemed to be unreasonable or unsafe. That figure could then be published with a reading included alongside the scoreboard both at the ground and for TV audiences. That way we could take this issue out of the hands of umpires and manage the expectations of all involved. The umpires would also have a cast-iron defence against criticism and in face of potential legal challenges from players who claim their safety was compromised by playing in unfit conditions.

Again, as an aside, you wonder if such research might find that playing in gloomy light is easier than playing in bright light. Players say they lose sight of the ball in the sun quite often.

Most of all, though, the ICC and its Members have to put spectators at the heart of future plans. At present, the game is run by people who have forgotten what it's like to pay to watch cricket. Who have forgotten what it's like to buy tickets, take holiday entitlement and buy TV subscriptions for the thrill of watching the game. Who cannot necessarily just watch the following day instead. Who will not tolerate these delays and will pursue other leisure opportunities instead.

Former players have fantastic experience to offer. It is only right that their views are heard and incorporated into decision making. But the views of spectators should be considered and represented at all levels of the game, including on the ICC board. At present, the game is elitist, complacent, inconsistent and unaccountable. Spectators are treated like a barely necessary evil. Unless we start to put their concerns at the heart of decision making, we will lose them. It's meant to be a spectator sport, after all.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo