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.”
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