Thumbs up to day-night Test

The historic Test between New Zealand and Australia under lights at the Adelaide Oval was a grand success. The pink ball had to pass muster and going by the reactions of the players, it seems to have done so.

The pink ball makes its first appearance in international cricket.   -  AP

The Australian cricket administrators have always looked at bringing in new dimensions to the game. Therefore, it was not a surprise when Cricket Australia pushed the ICC hard to introduce day-night Test matches. As usual, after the initial resistance that any organization has for change, especially when it is not a product out of their stable, the go ahead was granted. Of course, the ICC has to consider a lot of factors and they obviously were not sure if the new concept would work. The feedback on earlier occasions from the players with regard to day-night cricket with a pink ball was not really encouraging which also would have made the administrators think enough and more.

However, the historic Test between New Zealand and Australia under lights at the Adelaide Oval was a grand success. The pink ball had to pass muster and going by the reactions of the players, it seems to have done so. The ball did not misbehave and lasted long enough, but the important thing was that the players had no problem in sighting it. In terms of public response, the Adelaide Oval saw people turn up in good numbers which obviously was the prime motive behind the concept of starting day-night Tests. The absence of dew helped in the sense that the ball retained its basic characteristics all through the duration of the game. Cricket Australia must be pleased with the success of the initiative and maybe visiting teams will play more Tests under lights down under in the future.

The success at the Adelaide Oval notwithstanding, one cannot help but wonder if day-night Tests will be viable in other countries. The possibility of more people going through the turnstile will definitely increase but whether the conditions will support the concept in other countries remains to be seen. For example, if dew becomes a factor, the post dinner sessions will alter the course of the day’s play quite drastically. The spinners will struggle to grip the ball and if pitches are as spinner friendly as they are in India, it will not matter much. The day-night Tests can bring in new customers to the game, as did the IPL as families can have a night out and catch up with the entertainment.

The administrators needed to create some extra buzz to rekindle the interest of the public and the-day night concept will have to be pursued with vigour. Of course, there will be some teething problems in every country, but innovation is the name of the game these days. If the day-night Tests become a regular feature, it won’t be long before coloured clothing replaces the whites in Test cricket as well. That will perhaps create a bit of a furore in some quarters, but cricket is intertwined more with commerce these days. As such, tradition will be followed up to a certain point beyond which the bottomline will dictate everything else.

There is absolutely no harm in making the game attractive to the public as long as the essence of the sport is not compromised. Cricket needs to create a buzz in order to retain the interest of the public and with the younger generation seeking quick results and novelty, the administrators have to constantly improvise. A good start has been made at Adelaide, which incidentally is the home of Bradman and the time has come for others to follow suit. The only thing that will require great attention is ensuring that the new avatar of Test cricket is unleashed only where it is possible to provide a spectacle without compromising the quality of cricket.

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