Where's the ball for night Tests, asks Kookabura
The concept of day-night Test cricket has hit a road-block even before it was materialised as manufacturers of Kookaburra balls have said that in last 30 years they could not produce a ball for such playing conditions.
Kookaburra Managing Director Rob Elliott feels the integrity of Test cricket, which has at its essence in the deterioration of the red ball, would be fundamentally threatened if the game was played under lights.
Above all, there would be no Shane Warnes or Muttiah Muralitharans as the game will change and become boring.
"Test matches revolve around the deterioration of the ball from new to old and that brings the fast bowlers, medium pacers and spinners into play at different stages of the game," Elliott said.
"We all look forward to the second new ball being introduced after 80 overs when the whole game changes again.
"If they are going to use a light-coloured ball that can be seen at night, the fundamental problem will be discolouration and the constant need to change. We have not been able to solve that problem for 30 years and I can't see a solution now.
"There would be no Warnes or Muralis, it would be all medium pace. We've been through that era and it was pretty boring cricket. It seems to me to be a bit of kite-flying. Any light-coloured ball is going to get dirty. Are they going to be happy to change the ball every 35 overs? In doing that you will fundamentally change the game," he was quoted as saying by the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
Different colour balls have been unsuccessfully trialled at various points of time such as an orange ball was used when day-night Sheffield Shield games were played in the mid-1990s. But batsmen felt it was "like facing Halley's Comet".
The white ball, used in limited-overs cricket, would clash with the players' white clothing, but a bright pink ball will be trialled during an interstate women's Twenty20 game on January 10.
Australian Cricket Association Chief Executive Paul Marsh yesterday said the players had "mixed views" about day-night Tests and the ball remained the major stumbling block, but it was worth exploring any concept that would boost attendances and television audiences.
"We're going to keep an open mind to Cricket Australia's proposal," he said but added that "we've been using a white ball and it can't even last 50 overs let alone 80. If the batsmen believe they are at a disadvantage, the game is about balance between bat and ball, and if all of a sudden you're batting at twilight... In terms of preserving the integrity of Test cricket that's a major issue.
"It's hard to see it getting up unless we can solve that issue. There's a stack of things that have to be overcome but you have to start somewhere, and if it's going to bring more people to the game you'd be stupid not to look at it with the competition we face."
Cricket Australia believes day-night Tests with stumps at 9pm or 10pm at some venues before the end of the decade could rejuvenate Test cricket by making it more popular among consumers, but it is understood the concept has not received broad support among members of the International Cricket Council.