Melbourne: Cricket Australia has welcomed an International Cricket Council ruling that it says brings day/night Test cricket one step closer.
The ICC announced overnight that Test-match-participating countries may now agree to play day/night Test matches. The home and visiting boards will decide on the hours of play which will be six hours of scheduled play per day while the two boards will also decide on the precise brand, type and colour of ball to be used for the match, it said.
CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland, who has long argued that cricket needs to recognise that fans have a better chance of watching Test cricket if it is played at night, said the ICC’s new ruling means there is one less obstacle to day/night Tests becoming a reality.
“Test cricket is by definition played on at least three week days, times when most people are at work or school, and this limits the ability of fans to attend or watch on TV,” he said.
“We limit ourselves by staging cricket’s premium format at times when fans often cannot watch. We know that the audience for the Perth Test, which is on TV in the evening on the east coast, is up significantly because fans in the East can tune in after work.”
“CA has a formal strategic plan that demands that Australian cricket puts fans first and we will now add day/night Tests to the agenda when we talk to other Test nations about their future tours down-under.”
He believed that elite cricket’s short formats had shown that batsmen could make big scores under lights.
However, Sutherland also said he didn’t want to create expectations that day/night Tests are just around the corner.