Cricket Australia had recently announced the possibility of hosting the first ever Day-Night Test, in the Australian Summer of 2015. While the concept has been doing rounds for the past couple of years, this is the first time an international cricket board has taken initiative to push forward the concept. Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland discussed about this to his New Zealand counterpart.
Now leaving aside the internal structuring within the ICC and the final confirmation of the staging of Day-Night Tests, it can be somewhat concluded that with such commercialization of the game, the move will be a reality sooner than later. So here is a take on what to expect from Day-Night Tests.
- Better Crowds: One of the main problems Test cricket has faced, especially in the Indian Sub-Continent, is the lack of attendance during the weekdays. While the IPL and most of ODIs have raked revenue due to matches going till late night, Test matches have failed to capitalise. While crowds during weekends and crucial days are fair, but generally weekdays are pretty dull as far as attendance is concerned. The Day-Night Test might rejuvenate the market for Test Cricket, as the crowds will be definitely interested to see their best players after coming off work. And increased crowds will definitely increase marketability of test cricket, which is relatively lower compared to the shorter formats of the game.
- Pink Ball: With different formats, balls according to the requirement has been made and used. While the traditional red cherry is made keeping in mind the toils of test matches, the white one is made to withstand a more flashy brand of cricket in shorter formats. While reverse swing and the traditional spinners have been mastered with an old red cherry, the white balls behaves in a lesser bowler-friendly way, thus bowlers are forced to rely on variations off the hand. The pink ball, designed to use it under the lights, have been extensively researched upon by kookaburra, they insist that the characteristics will remain similar to the traditional red cherry. But will it? We have to wait and find out. But nevertheless, rest assured, it will be a different experience compared to the red cherry.
- Playing Experience : A single day in a Test match involves some phases, including the first hour of the day, wherein the fast bowlers get some juice out of the pitch, following it with a drab post lunch sessions, where spinners try out to break the batsmen, and ending with a long post tea session, wherein the fielding captain tries his best to end the day on a high. And everything changes if we consider it to be a Day-Night Tests. The bowlers will be initially hard pressed, as the hot afternoon conditions may not favor them, but it could get interesting under the lights, wherein the batsmen have to hold their nerves under the lights. So, even the players will experience a different sort of pressure, and it could change the dynamics of how a test match proceeds.
- The Overall Experience: A combination of all these factors will produce a new cocktail of a test experience, which has never been seen in test cricket over nearly a century and a half. While technology revolutionized test cricket’s marketability, nothing has been changed the way Test Cricket was played. But with the emergence of Day-Night Tests, it might breathe fresh air into the fading popularity of Test cricket.