Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia and New Zealand are highly likely to play the first day-night Test match next year as talks between both country’s cricket boards continued.
It was also revealed that Adelaide or Hobart are the two likely venues to host the match, which is likely to take place in November next year.
In order to continue testing whether day-night Tests are the right move, Cricket Australia announced that there will be another round of day-night matches played during this year’s Sheffield Shield season.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) will also have their own trials, but they will not be at the first-class level.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland was encouraged by what he saw from the day-night trials in last year’s Sheffield Shield season. However, he admitted that the pink ball used will not behave in the same way the red ball does.
“What we learnt from that last year is that there are no real obvious reasons why we shouldn’t be continuing to progress with our intent around a day-night Test match,” Sutherland said. “We’re certainly very excited about the concept and we’re serious about really properly pushing ahead now.
“The pink ball, just like the white ball, doesn’t behave exactly the same as the red ball. But … the ball is the same for both teams. What we were pleased about was that in looking at the Shield results from this round that we played, the statistics in terms of runs and wickets were very much on par with average for the whole Shield season last year. There weren’t any rogue behaviours.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to get to a stage where everyone is completely satisfied or comfortable with it. If we go back 30-odd years in time when the first ever day-night one-day internationals were played, I’m sure there was that same level of trepidation that some stakeholders including players might have had about day-night one-day cricket and white balls.”
Sutherland also noted that Test cricket could be revived through day-night Tests since more people will be able to attend matches.
“Players are often quite concerned about changes in the way the game is played,” he said. “That creates an all-the-more-important reason for us to consult with them so they understand where we’re going and why it is.
“Whilst there may be some trepidation or concern about the pink ball and what impact it has on the game itself, I think it’s really important that we continue to keep the big picture in mind and understand that in certain parts of the world the game of Test cricket is not as strong as it once was. If there are things we can do to enhance Test cricket to make it more popular, then that needs to be our ultimate aim. The last thing we want is to see Test cricket withering on the vine.”
However, NZC chief executive David White stated that it was essential for the pink ball to behave exactly like the red ball.
“Since Test cricket was played in 1877 there have been significant changes, covered pitches, day limits, fielding restrictions, introduction of helmets, change of ball etc,” White said. “I think as administrators we must keep evolving, improving the game and improving it for our stakeholders. We’ve got to be mindful of change but keep an open mind.
“I’ve spoken to the players and we’ve said once the trial [in New Zealand] is over and if they’re satisfied we’ll put it to them. The consultation with the players is key, we’re very conscious of that.”