Sutherland bats for more freedom to schedule pink-ball Test

The Cricket Australia chief executive believes host nations must be allowed to schedule matches according to their discretion and “start them at whatever time of day they want.”

James Sutherland believes Australia’s record in pink-ball Tests in Adelaide could have played a role in BCCI’s hesitation to participate.   -  AP

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland believes host nations should be able exercise more freedom in scheduling pink-ball Tests when the ICC Test championship begins in 2019.

Read: Australia waits for India over day-night Test

A number of countries, including India, have expressed their reservations about participating in the pink-ball Test, which has been played in Adelaide every year since 2015. India, which tours Australia in the 2018-19 season, seems reluctant give a go-ahead to the planned contest.

‘Huge success’

“I think personally the home country should have the right to schedule matches as it sees fit and start them at whatever time of day they want,” Sutherland was quoted as saying by SEN Radio on Tuesday. “The Adelaide Test match in the day-night format has been a huge success. It’s been a great story in terms of attendances, crowds and atmosphere but also television audiences. It’s also the way of the future,” he added.

‘Bit of an advantage’

Australia has won all the day-night Tests played at the Adelaide Oval so far, and this could be a reason for BCCI’s hesitation. “India may or may not come around to that idea for this tour but I still believe it’s the way of the future. I think everyone in world cricket knows that. To be frank, I think they want to come out here and beat us. There’s a sense, or a reality, that Australia has won each of the pink-ball Test matches that have played in Australia and there may be a sense that it gives us a bit of an advantage,” Sutherland said.

India is set to play three Twenty20 Internationals, four Tests and three One-Day Internationals in its tour of Australia, from November 21 to January 19.

PTI adds:

When CoA chief Rai was contacted, he said: “I don’t think BCCI’s stand will change. As it has already been decided, Day/Night pink ball matches will continue at the first-class level. Duleep Trophy will be played under lights once again.”

Rai, however, said that India’s reluctance to play Day/Night Test does not imply that the two boards are on collision course.

“I don’t see this as a reason for friction (between boards). Playing condition is something that both the boards sit and decide upon. Obviously, whatever happens, is agreed mutually. However, let me make it clear once again, there won’t be any pink ball Test involving India,” Rai said.

A senior BCCI official said that there was nothing wrong in aiming for a win. “Obviously, we want to beat Australia in Australia and what’s wrong with it? If they can strategise how easily they can beat us, we will look after our interests. The BCCI has never been convinced about the quality of pink kookaburra balls,” he said.

“In fact, at an internal meeting, we had discussed that let’s try Dukes pink ball for a domestic tournament. There are a lot of factors. We can’t just pander to Sutherland’s wishes,” he added.