Day-night Test cricket will be great for the game, but is it the best solution to save the longest form of the game from redundancy? It will, if the administrators have the balls. By that, we don't mean bravado, but the right kind of leather and lacquer to make day-night Tests a meaningful substitute for day Tests.
Even as South Africa have still not agreed to be a part of the next Australian summer's day-night Test, the Indian cricket board's secretary Anurag Thakur announced recently that one of next season's India vs New Zealand Tests will be played under lights in India. The New Zealand board were quick to state that a lot of aspects have to be considered before they are part of this innovation on Indian shores. New Zealand should know because they figured in the first ever day-night Test last year.
Like most issues in cricket, the jury is out. Sceptics, however genuine their concerns may seem, are viewed as road blockers, while supporters of Test cricket under lights are hailed as forward thinkers. Hopefully, this issue will not open up bitter battles between cricket nations.
Australia must guard against not giving the impression that they are forcing the day-night Test down South Africa's throat. For starters, they could request SA to be part of their day-night spectacle and not include it as part of the three-Test series. Yes, a two-Test series Down Under will appear odd, but it's been witnessed elsewhere.
Doubtless, Test players all over the world would love to play in front of packed houses, but their view must be taken into consideration for his major change. Some pundits reckon limited overs cricket is the people's game; Test cricket, the players' game. If batsmen find it hard to spot the pink ball, it is a credible complaint.
In many ways, the ball is in the administrators' court and if Test cricket under lights has a waiting game to play till the right kind of ball is manufactured, so be it. Television networks wanting to cash in, will have to hang on too.