Cricket

Day/night Tests 'on way'

2010-05-19 07:20
David Morgan (File)

Barbados - World cricket's top administrator is convinced it "won't be too long" before day/night Tests are being played in either Australia or India.

David Morgan, the president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), in an interview with AFP in Barbados, also said a "context" for Test and one-day international matches was on its way.

While Tests in England are generally sold out and England or South Africa Test tours of Australia also attract large crowds, elsewhere other series in the five-day format struggle to attract spectators.

Ever since floodlit fixtures were pioneered in Australia more than 30 years ago as part of the 'rebel' World Series Cricket, there have been suggestions day/night Tests could draw in spectators who are at work during normal playing hours.

But so far, in part because of concerns the white ball used for floodlit cricket won't stand up to the wear and tear of a five-day match, they have yet to become a reality.

Morgan, speaking ahead of an ICC meeting at Lord's this week, insisted day/night Tests were on the horizon.

"I talked to administrators in Australia whom I expected to be so conservative as to be against day/night Test cricket but they are very much for it and I believe it won't be too long before we see day/night Test cricket in Australia or India," he said.

One complaint is that too many Tests, as well as one-dayers, lack "context". Although the ICC has introduced a Test table, its complex rating system has so far failed to excite much interest.

Morgan, perhaps concerned by promising something leading countries - who organise series between themselves within minimum ICC guidelines - won't let him deliver, has repeatedly refrained from using the word 'championship' or 'league' in connection with Tests and ODIs.

But Morgan, a former chairperson of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said: "Our chief executives' committee has been looking at producing a context for both ODI cricket and Test match cricket so watch this space. "Enriching ODIs and Tests are two major opportunities, and I have little or no doubt the game will embrace those fairly quickly."

Morgan added the biggest regret of his term as president, which expires within weeks, was Pakistan becoming a no-go area for international cricket following the armed attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore last year.

"I feel sad for the people of Pakistan and for the cricketers in Pakistan," he said.

"Pakistan has produced some of the most stylish cricketers in the last couple of decades -- Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.

"It's a country we need to continue to be producing fine cricketers, a bit like the Welsh (rugby union) 'outside-half factory," the 72-year-old Welshman added. "When these things cease to flow, the game is a great deal poorer."

Morgan though was buoyed by the upcoming Tests between Pakistan and Australia in England in July -- the first neutral Tests since England staged the 1912 triangular tournament involving Australia and South Africa.

"With those Test matches at Lord's and Headingley, there will be huge interest and just the shop-window Pakistan needs," Morgan said.

Reflecting on the World Twenty20, where England beat Australia by seven wickets in the final here on Sunday, he added: "I think this tournament has gone wonderfully well."

A key to its success was that home fans were not priced out of matches, as happened at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, he explained.

"Accessibility for local people is important. It's absolutely crazy to be pricing tickets in excess of a week's wages for people and that was the sort of thing that was happening at the last World Cup."

Morgan, a former commercial director of Electrical Steel and an ex-chairman of Cariff-based county side Glamorgan, said he would "not go back" to any of his previous roles within cricket or business.

Asked what he would do when no longer ICC president, a deadpan Morgan replied: "Maybe I'll see if I can get a press pass."

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