Looking to maintain the pre-eminence of Test cricket, the sport's governing body paves the way for a day-nighter trial next year.
ICC approves TV reviews, day-night trials
LONDON // Looking to maintain the pre-eminence of Test cricket, the sport's governing body has paved the way for a day-nighter trial next year and approved the use of video referrals in the five-day format. The International Cricket Council (ICC) cast aside concerns that the authority of on-field match officials will be undermined, and will allow the batsman and fielding captain to refer decisions to the television official from October.
They will be limited to two unsuccessful referrals per innings. The ICC Board will discuss today the possibility of 2011 World Cup games being held again in Pakistan, along with Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. Co-hosting rights were stripped from Pakistan in April due to security fears in the wake of an attack on the Sri Lankan team by gunmen in Lahore. The first day of the ICC meetings in London said that a barrier to day-night Tests was finding a suitable replacement for the traditional red ball that is clearly visible under lights. It will wait for the results of an experiment in first-class cricket before taking a decision early in 2010 on an international trial later in the year.
But former Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist, who played in such trials in the mid-1990s using fluorescent orange balls, said it created an "unfair contest." "Test cricket should be tampered with as little as is possible," Gilchrist said. "Its rules, customs and playing conditions - like Major League Baseball - should remain as close to how it has been played for the past 130 years. "Many of cricket's innovations should be applied only in the shorter forms of the game. This not only includes the expanded umpire referral system, but especially the mooted introduction of night Test cricket and a different coloured ball needed to accommodate this."
The main problem for Gilchrist playing for the Sheffield Shield in Australia was the imbalance in the matches. "Often it made for an unfair contest, especially when batting, which always seemed much more difficult late in the evening than earlier in the afternoon," he said. Retractable lights have recently been installed at Lord's to cater for night cricket, but the chances of the venue hosting the game will depend on the success of any trial.
The ICC board also agreed Wednesday that captains of sides who are fined three times for slow-over rates in a year will be banned for one match in that format. It also ruled only umpires, not batsman, can decide when play should be suspended for bad light when conditions are "unreasonable or dangerous," rather than merely "unsuitable" as is currently the rule. *AP