That cricket, in many ways, is not truly governed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) was proved yesterday, when the ICC congratulated Australia and New Zealand for their decision to play a day-night Test with a pink ball at the Adelaide Oval this November.
In an ideal world, being the governing body of the sport, they should be spearheading decision-making. But that’s the way the ICC has been built by member countries and cricket is a funny game.
Having said that, day-night Test cricket is worth experimenting with, and Australia have played true to form and tradition by being a frontrunner when it comes to innovation.
For long now, Test cricket’s interest has been brutally challenged by 50-over cricket and the Twenty20 version. At the heart of that challenge is crowd attendance. Test cricket in Australia and England attracts healthy crowds but spectator turn-out in the sub-continent is worrying and something needed to be done to arrest that.
Cricket pundits reckon that limited overs cricket is the public’s game while cricketers must have a say in innovations where Test cricket is concerned. There is merit in that view. Several Australian cricketers were not happy with the pink ball when it was experimented in domestic cricket and the players’ view must be taken seriously. It’s as if Cricket Australia has said, ‘to hell with those who think this won’t work, we are going ahead.’
It’s a tough call to take. It is highly improbable that India would agree to hosting day-night Tests if the pink ball is imperfect. So, even if the public and administrators lap up the innovation, it won’t be implemented in India a la DRS situation. That won’t be good for cricket but, as of now, day-night Test cricket is worth a try. If it doesn’t work out, the same administrators should be brave enough to say, ‘sorry, bad idea... let’s bin it.’