Cricket Australia to promote day-night Test cricket by 2010

December 13th, 2007 - 4:34 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Dec.13 (ANI): Cricket Australia is preparing to defy 130 years of tradition by organising day-night Test matches on a trial basis by 2010.
The trial will be the biggest revolution to hit the game since Kerry Packer introduced World Series Cricket 30 years ago, reports The Australian.
Officials are examining the possibility of scheduling games from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and claim the move would allow more people to watch the cricket at the grounds and on television.
Tests, which traditionally begin at 11 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m., always span weekends, but suffer from smaller audiences on weekdays when people work. The day games also miss TV’s prime ratings periods.
“We are tossing it around and working out the fundamentals,” Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland told The Australian last night.
“In a realistic sense, we don’t see any reason why we can’t be at least trialling some day-night Test cricket matches - not necessarily all of them - before the end of the decade. It could happen sooner, I don’t know. We need to explore that and go through a consultative process.”
“I’m not going to say we will do it for all Tests. I am saying that in order to meet consumer demands and to satisfy, if not fuel, consumer interests in the game, it would appear there are many good reasons why we should be playing Test cricket at night,” Sutherland added.
Packer introduced day-night one-day international matches in November 1978, using yellow and later white balls. They have proven to be a hit with TV audiences and crowds who can pick up the game after work.
Sutherland said the move was not being driven by television rights holder the Nine Network and claimed he had not spoken with the network about the idea.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting was not overjoyed with the idea when approached last night.
“I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I wouldn’t like to be changing the way Test cricket is looked at and played too much,” he said.
“We had day-night Shield games a while ago, although I didn’t play in them. They played a lot in Perth, they played a lot in Brisbane, and by all accounts they were a nightmare for batsmen.”
The biggest problem with night cricket is finding a ball that can be seen and that can endure the rigours of Test matches.
Trials with day-night state matches in the past encountered problems with seeing the yellow ball, particularly at dusk, and also the amount of dew that fell on some grounds.
Kookaburra has developed a pink ball, which is being trialled in Australian women’s cricket this year as a promotional tool for breast cancer, but there are plans to introduce it to English county cricket next season.
In Australia there are light towers at every Test venue except Hobart. In countries such as India, where cricket is played during winter and limited by short days, day-night cricket could extend the season.
“Cricket is sport but it’s also entertainment and as administrators our responsibility is to meet customers’ needs,” Sutherland said. (ANI)

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