Lorgat: Night Test closer for SA

2015-11-30 12:27
Haroon Lorgat (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – Cricket South Africa is likely to embrace any likelihood of the Proteas sampling a day-night cricket Test match as early as next year.

Following the success of the inaugural Test in those conditions at Adelaide Oval over the last few days – Australia beat New Zealand in a thriller by three wickets to clinch the trans-Tasman series -- Cricket Australia has indicated its firm desire to extend the concept.

Although relatively low-scoring – and ironically lasting only three days, like the controversial India v SA Test in Nagpur – the experiment earned the praise of players, administrators, television bosses and public.

It commanded strong prime-time TV audiences, and a total of some 123,000 spectators went through the gates over the three days the game lasted.

The pitch was kept a little greener than would ordinarily be the case, for fear of the revolutionary pink ball deteriorating too much, but such fears were largely allayed so future surfaces may well be kinder for batting.

The Proteas tour Down Under early in the 2016/17 season, and there is strong speculation that the first of the four Tests scheduled, at the Gabba in Brisbane, will be staged as a day-nighter.

“I don’t see a reason not to embrace it,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat told Sport24 on Monday. “In fact, I believe we should embrace it.

“I did manage to watch a bit of the (Adelaide) Test ... remember that I was a proponent while still based at the International Cricket Council; James Sutherland (Cricket Australia CEO) and I were drivers of the concept.

“In South Africa we have had discussions along such lines ourselves; the Proteas’ team leadership have been in on them too – the feedback has certainly been positive and open-minded.”

Lorgat reminded that day-night Tests would have to be “venue-specific” worldwide, given the special requirement of strong floodlights for the extended format, which does not make use of the white ball that has become standard use for limited-overs internationals, and weather and climate-related issues from one ground to another.

Already South Africa seldom schedules, for example, floodlit one-dayers for the Proteas at the Highveld Test venues of the Wanderers and SuperSport Park in late-season (February and March) given the heavy dew factor at times.

But it is less of an issue at other times of the year, and Lorgat added that Newlands, traditionally the country’s best-supported Test ground, would also not be precluded from consideration for future day-night Tests.

He reminded that Adelaide Oval had recently been the beneficiary of a huge modernisation drive, and boasted “especially sophisticated floodlighting”, so cost and other practical considerations would enter the equation for any future day-night plans on our turf.

“We would adopt a phased approach to day-night Tests; it wouldn’t just happen overnight.

“But the potential is real; it resonates with the changing needs of people these days.”

 *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    csa  |  haroon lorgat  |  cricket

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