Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The first ever day-night Test match will see New Zealand face Australia at the Adelaide Oval from November 27 to December 1.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) agreed to play a day-night Test as they were assured it would not only benefit them financially, but also help resume regular series between them and Australia after a four-year gap.
While New Zealand’s players were initially reluctant about the idea of playing a day-night Test and using a pink Kookaburra ball, they eventually accepted to do so as they are eager to play Australia on a more regular basis.
“It’s fair to say our players are nervous about the day-night Test. It’s uncharted territory and because of that there will be uncertainty and apprehension,” New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association chief Heath Mills said. “However, whilst the players have reservations about the concept, they can see the bigger picture in the new agreement, and the greater good it brings to all levels of the game.”
However, Australia head coach Darren Lehmann was thrilled about the news and believes it is a step in the right director in helping increase attendance at Test matches.
“I’m looking forward to it to see what it brings, looking forward to seeing how both teams perform under lights, looking forward to seeing a massive crowd,” Lehmann said. “I think it’s going to be exceptional to see everyone turning up for the first one ever in Test match cricket, I’m excited, and I know the players are excited and looking forward to the challenge.
“Recommendations to the ICC committee were to make sure we are pushing the boundaries if you like and trying to get day-night Test matches, evening Test matches, to try and get people coming to watch it in different parts of the world in different countries, and versus different countries. We think it’s a really important way to go and only time will tell if it’s right or it’s wrong, end of the day we’ve got to give it a crack and I think it’s important for the game.
“It’s very special for everyone involved, players, staff, everyone at CA, and New Zealand Cricket so it’s going to be a really interesting time. Looking forward to what the challenges the ball brings for example and how it reacts on the pitch. I’m sure it’s going to be okay.”
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, who has been campaigning for the introduction of day-night Tests for more than seven years, agreed with Lehmann’s views, and added: “One of the global challenges with Test cricket is that most of the matches outside holiday periods are played on week days, in the middle of the day when people are at work and kids are at school.
“By shifting the playing times each day’s play can go into the evening and allow people to come in after work or after school to attend the last few hours of play, but also when they get home in other parts of the world or other parts of the country, they can watch the game on TV.
“The Perth Test match is a great illustration of that. It’s fanatically watched on the eastern seaboard of Australia every year because of the time difference. Our television ratings are something like 40 per cent more for the whole country.
“We’re really confident with the work that’s been done over the past few years. We’ve had two successive seasons of Sheffield Shield cricket where pink balls have been trialled. We’ve worked very closely with the Australian Cricketers’ Association and Kookaburra in the development of the ball and its continued upgrade to make it ready.
“We’ll make sure that the players from both teams are well prepared. We’re working really closely with New Zealand Cricket in giving them the right tour matches and preparation before the ultimate day-night Test, which is the last of the series. And similarly with our players.”