Prospect of day-night Tests has got NZC ‘very excited’

Image courtesy of: Sydney Morning Herald

“We are very interested in the concept”

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have announced that they are “very excited” about the prospect of a day-night Test match taking place during the national team’s tour of Australia towards the end of 2015.

Cricket Australia recently revealed that they were in talks with NZC to schedule a day-night Test after stating that some Sheffield Shield matches will be played under floodlights this year.

NZC chief executive David White admitted that he was very interested in the concept of day-night Tests since it would boost attendance and increase television viewership as well.

“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 NZC and Cricket Australia are celebrating the arrival of day-night Tests, the Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Paul Marsh issued a warning, saying that some players are still not on board with the idea of starting Test matches later on in the day.

“At the moment the support from the players is divided,” Marsh said. “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.

“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 also revealed that it was crucial none of the players were at a disadvantage at any time, especially where visibility is concerned, but added that there had been some encouraging signs with the pink ball and floodlights.

“There has been talk about the twilight as a difficult time to bat,” White said. “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.”

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