SYDNEY: Australia and New Zealand will play cricket’s first day-night Test match under lights in Adelaide this November using a pink ball, cricket chiefs announced Tuesday.
Despite the misgivings of players, officials in Australia and New Zealand said the innovation would help drive up television audiences and spectator numbers for the five-day game.
“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… (or) watch the game on TV,” Cricket Australia (CA) chief James Sutherland said.
CA has been a long-time promoter of playing Test cricket under lights and trialled day-night first class cricket in the 2014-15 Sheffield Shield season.
The historic international will be played in Adelaide from November 27-December 1 and will be the third and final Test in a series between the trans-Tasman rivals.
The match will be played with a pink ball that has been developed by manufacturer Kookaburra to be more visible to players under lights than the traditional red one.
New Zealand Cricket chief David White said the day-night format would not take over from regular Test cricket, describing it as part of the game’s evolution.
“Since the first Test in 1877, there have been numerous changes to the laws and rules in an effort to ensure the game remains relevant — and this is another,” he said.
Despite administrators’ enthusiasm, many players are concerned day-night Tests undermine the game’s traditions and could increase the danger for batsmen if they cannot pick-up the ball properly under lights.
A survey of New Zealand’s top players last month found most senior Black Caps were sceptical about taking part in an experiment they feared could “devalue” the Test.
But the pay-off for the Black Caps’ involvement is guaranteed matches against Australia for the next seven years.
“It’s uncharted territory and because of that there will be uncertainty and apprehension,” New Zealand Players’ Association chief Heath Mills said.
“However, whilst the players have reservations about playing Test cricket at night, they see the bigger picture in the new agreement.”-AFP