Sometime in 2010, day-night Tests could be introduced changing cricket forever. True, the decision hinges on several factors but on Wednesday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) felt it was an opportunity worth exploring.
Successful trials of an ‘appropriate ball’ is one of the issues that need to be ‘satisfactorily addressed’ before evening Tests get the go-ahead. If the stakeholders want it - and given Tests’ dwindling attendances, there is reason to believe they would — and the concept works in first-class cricket, we could have sport's most radical innovation yet.
This was one of the decisions taken by the ICC on the first day of its meeting at Lord’s on Wednesday.
The concept of day-night Tests evoked mixed reactions in India. Ex-India skipper Bishan Singh Bedi found it unacceptable, while Erapalli Prasanna wasn’t against it.
“I don't think it's a very progressive step,” said Bedi. “Test cricket is good enough to take care of itself and shouldn’t be tampered with. If the ICC actually decides to hold day-night Tests, they will face several problems, beginning with the choice of balls.”
Prasanna had a different take. “I think the ICC had to come up with something to keep the crowds interested in Tests after the success of T20. I think this was their only avenue.”
Deep Dasgupta, a player of the current generation, wasn't averse to the idea. “It’s interesting. I remember a Ranji Trophy final was played day-night (96-97 in Gwalior). If the ICC goes ahead with the idea, we could have domestic matches under lights. It does take away the challenge of a conventional morning session but I am sure it would throw up newer avenues, which makes a Test interesting,” he said.
The ICC also decided the Umpire Decision Review System, suspended since March 2009, would be resumed in October this year.
International umpire K. Hariharan said he was okay with it as long as the technology used is shown to the viewers, which was the case when the system was experimentally used.
“As long as we are getting correct decision without compromising on the essence of cricket, I have no problem.”