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India sets the ball rolling for day-night Tests

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is mulling to host two day-night Test matches, one each against New Zealand and Australia this year and the next respectively.


The BCCI started has negotiations with the New Zealand Cricket Board, and NZC chief executive David White held talks with Indian officials during an ICC meeting in Dubai last april.


“We’ve said we are receptive to the idea,” New Zealand Herald quoted Mr. White as saying. “We will work closely with the players, but in saying that, if the trials look good and they [India] are comfortable with [the trials] it’s very positive from our point of view. We believe day-night Test has a big future.”


Mumbai could emerge as the most likely venue to host the game should the two boards go ahead with the plan.


BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had said, “We have decided that we will play one day-night Test with pink ball against New Zealand later this year. Before that, Duleep Trophy will act as a dress rehearsal for the day-night Test.”


Mr. Thakur said the main objective of the Duleep Trophy would be to check how the pink Kookaburra behaves under lights in the sub-continental conditions.


Mr. White said there was a solid consensus around the ICC table in Dubai about the importance of day-night play in the future Test landscape.


“The sentiment was very positive. Everyone realises it’s going to be important for the future of the Test format to make it accessible to the fans,” he noted.


Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland said the BCCI had approached them to play a day-night Test when the team from Down Under tours India early next year.


Mr. Sutherland said:


“I think there is certainly some positive signals coming out of India and other parts of the world [regarding day-night Tests].


“Indicatively, they have started talking to us about the prospect of playing a day-night Test match against Australia when Australia tours in February and March of next year. That is just a pretty strong indicator of where things are at.


“When you look at the big picture, it is probably not surprising because day-night Test cricket is just a no-brainer really, giving more opportunities for fans to get along to the cricket and watch it on TV.”


The uniforms for the day/night Test will remain white. This is one reason why the white ball used in limited overs matches is not a viable option for the Test. Play will start in the afternoon, instead of in the morning, and tea will be held after the first session. Dinner is scheduled between the second and third sessions.


Much of the focus will be on the pink ball, which has been used rarely by any cricketing team.


In a real departure from tradition, the pink leather ball replaced the standard issue red for the first time in a format that dates back to the 1870s in the first ever day-night Test match on November 16, 2015 between Australia and New Zealand at Adelaide Oval.


Australia captain Steve Smith said then, “We are creating history playing in the first day-night test so I’m sure a lot of people are going to be watching around the world. And that’s really exciting for world cricket.”

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