Night cricket in In­dia? Not so fast

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

IN­DIA’S ex­per­i­ment with the pink ball in the Duleep Tro­phy do­mes­tic cham­pi­onship met with ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment af­ter flood­light fail­ure in­ter­rupted play for over an hour in the day-night match on Au­gust 23.

The Duleep Tro­phy, a four-day tri­an­gu­lar com­pe­ti­tion which tra­di­tion­ally her­alds the start of the In­dian cricket sea­son, is seen as a pos­si­ble pre­cur­sor to day-night Tests in cricket’s big­gest mar­ket.

But the first match on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal New Delhi wit­nessed three of the six light tow­ers go out twice in the post din­ner ses­sion, forc­ing the play­ers to leave the field.

The first in­ter­rup­tion hap­pened just af­ter the din­ner in­ter­val when play was de­layed by 17 min­utes due to in­suf­fi­cient light while the sec­ond break stretched to about 50 min­utes.

The or­gan­is­ers re­fused to an­swer any queries af­ter the fi­asco as play car­ried on well past 9pm, the orig­i­nal time for end of play.

“There was some prob­lem in the main elec­tri­cal cir­cuit of the flood­lights, which was trip­ping,” a ground of­fi­cial told AFP on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Ear­lier the play­ers tak­ing part in the day’s match, be­tween teams that have been re­branded In­dia Red and In­dia Green, were ex­cited at the prospect of the long­est for­mat of the game also be­ing played af­ter dark in In­dia.

“I think it is pretty ex­cit­ing and some­thing to look for­ward to,” said vet­eran all-rounder Yu­vraj Singh, who has en­joyed great suc­cess for the na­tional team un­der lights in ODI and T20 cricket.

“The New Zealand-Aus­tralia Test match [first day-night Test played in Ade­laide last year] I saw was pretty ex­cit­ing. The ball was swing­ing a bit much. It will be chal­leng­ing if it swings a lot, play­ing un­der lights,” added Singh, who is cap­tain­ing In­dia Red.

Suresh Raina, the cap­tain of In­dia Green who is try­ing to force his way back into the In­dian team, was sim­i­larly en­thu­si­as­tic.

“The Duleep Tro­phy has not been played with the pink ball be­fore and it’s a good chal­lenge. All the boys are keen [to per­form] and this is a good plat­form ahead of the sea­son,” said Raina.

Singh’s team won the toss and chose to bat first in the af­ter­noon in front of a cheer­ing crowd who had filed in to watch a piece of crick­et­ing his­tory.

“It’s a novel idea. Lo­cal peo­ple are ea­ger to watch the pink ball game un­der lights. We are just hop­ing that all goes well,” Ra­jeev Tyagi, one of the ground’s ad­min­is­tra­tors, told AFP be­fore the flood­light fail­ure.

In­dia had been ex­pected to stage their first day-night Test dur­ing a tour by New Zealand start­ing next month. But the plans were shelved to give more time for tri­als of the pink Kook­aburra ball.

De­sign­ers say the pink ball is far more vis­i­ble un­der lights than the red ball that has tra­di­tion­ally been used in Tests. The white ball used in limited-overs cricket is not vi­able for Tests as it clashes with the play­ers’ white cloth­ing and sight screens as well as be­ing less durable.

The Aus­tralia-New Zealand match is the only Test so far to have been played un­der lights. But Pak­istan are also set to stage day/night con­tests against Aus­tralia and the West Indies in the Gulf later this year.

In­dia, who have just been top­pled by Pak­istan at the top of the rank­ings, are about to em­bark on an ex­ten­sive round of Test match cricket by host­ing se­ries against New Zealand, Eng­land, Bangladesh and Aus­tralia.

While In­dia’s ODI and T20 matches are usu­ally played in front of packed houses, Tests are only rarely sold out. –

Photo: AFP

Crick­eters walk back to the pavil­ion as some of the sta­dium lights go off dur­ing a Duleep Tro­phy cricket match be­tween In­dia Green and In­dia Red in Greater Noida on Au­gust 23.

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