Day-night fixture to promote Tests: ICC
A top official of cricket’s governing body asserted the first-ever day-night Test featuring Australia and New Zealand starting in Brisbane from Friday will help promote Test matches.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson believes the day-night Test is part of a package to lift the five-day format.
“The game needed to understand the demands and expectations of both the fans and its key stakeholders, and Tests played into the evening session will provide an option to countries where Test cricket was facing attendance and commercial issues,” Richardson is quoted in a ICC release.
Most of the countries face the problem of dwindling crowds in Tests and the huge popularity of the Twenty20 cricket endangers its future — a fact Richardson admits.
“The reality is that Test cricket is faced with challenges such as declining crowd attendances in some countries, as well as issues of context and competition for attention from shorter formats of the game,” said Richardson.
“Either we do nothing, and let the appetite for Test cricket die, or deal with the problem head-on and with an innovative and proactive approach.”
Richardson said another step to lift Tests is to provide funds to seven member countries to help them play the longer format.
“It has already been agreed to introduce a Test Cricket Fund from next year which will assist countries with the costs associated with staging Test matches,” said Richardson of the 10 million dollars fund to seven countries except India, Australia and England.
South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the West Indies will get $12.5 million annually over eight years from January next year.
Richardson said after enhancing prize money other avenues were also considered while Associates are also encouraged to qualify for Tests.
“The fact that the ICC Intercontinental Cup, the first-class tournament for the leading Associate and Affiliate teams, now offers a pathway to Test cricket for the winning side of the latest edition has the potential to add further to the story of Test cricket.”
But Richardson warned the success of day-night Test will take time to cash on.
“Bear in mind that the success of the Adelaide Test will not mean that suddenly everyone will be expected or able to stage day-night Tests as it is not a scenario that will suit every situation.
“But day-night Test cricket has the potential to be one way of ensuring that cricket’s traditional format remains relevant in the modern age and continues to thrive in the coming years.
“The game is about the public, the people who turn up to watch matches at the venues or who follow the matches on television, radio or online. Strong attendances inspire the players to produce their best, exciting the fans and creating value for the broadcasters and sponsors. I think day/night Test will assist with this process.”
Richardson praised Cricket Australia and New Zealand for accepting the idea and implementing it.
“I must compliment Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket and their teams for having the vision to engage in this historic milestone for world cricket.
“I am confident that, as players have adjusted to a myriad of changes within the international game over more than 100 years, they will adjust in this instance too, and, in doing so, play an important role in taking Test cricket to a new level. I wish them the best of luck.”