Should the day-night Adelaide Test go ahead?

Date: October 28, 2015 / Posted by Glenn Mitchell

Day night TestCricket’s pink ball Test, scheduled for Adelaide on 27 November, continues to divide the cricket world.

Many of those in the frame to participate in the historic maiden day-night Test continue to voice their concerns.

In the aftermath of Friday’s Prime Minister’s XI pink ball fixture against New Zealand, Adam Voges and Peter Siddle questioned the ball’s suitability for the Test arena.

Voges was the most vocal, saying players’ records in day-night Tests should be quarantined from their normal Test match statistics.

The 36-year-old, who was named vice-captain for the cancelled Bangladesh tour, was highly critical of the state of the ball after the PM XI’s match, saying “The ball that got hit onto the roof [by Martin Guptill] and didn’t come back was 28 overs old and it looked like it was 68 overs old

“To be honest it didn’t hold up very well at all … it looked as though the lacquer had come off and it was basically turning green … there were bits of pink left but it was probably more green than pink at the end.”

That was after a 50-over game. In Test matches there is a requirement to bowl 80 overs before an automatic new ball is available.

The level of scarring on the balls used at Manuka Oval again raises concern as to whether the pink ball can satisfactorily go the distance in a Test innings.

Siddle echoed Voges’ comments, saying “The pink started to disappear pretty quickly …. and it’s a bit hard to shine. It’s not like the red ball where you can sort of buff it up and get it nice and shiny. You can’t really do that with this ball”.

Kiwi opener Tom Latham, whose 131 earned him man-of-the-match honours in Canberra, said the team noticed that the pink ball deteriorated significantly quicker than a standard red ball when the squad spent a couple of days trialling it last week in Hamilton.

Back in June Mitchell Starc was strident in his criticism of the concept of using a pink ball in Test matches.

“We don’t want a ball that’s not going to swing. It goes soft pretty quickly and it definitely reacts very, very differently to the red ball”, was his response to questions about how he felt about the upcoming debut of the pink ball. “I couldn’t see the thing at night on the boundary. I couldn’t see the ball. I’m yet to be convinced.”

Cricket Australia ordered the pink balls used in Canberra to be sent to Melbourne post-match for assessment on the level of deterioration.

Kookaburra, the long-term manufacturer of the traditional red ball has also developed the new pink one over the past four years.

The company is adamant that the new ball represents only a “subtle” change for the players. It pointed to the fact that the one-day pitch rolled out at Manuka would by nature be far more abrasive than the likely Test strip in Adelaide hence the greater scuffing.

Kookaburra managing director, Brett Elliott is adamant that no cricket ball has ever been subjected to the level of testing and scrutiny that the new pink ball has.

Yet despite that the chorus of discontent from the players on both sides of the Tasman has been considerable.

The level of dissatisfaction from the players has even led to former Test ‘keeper Greg Dyer, now the president of the Australian Cricketers Association, to say that it was still not too late to scrap the use of the pink ball at Adelaide and revert to a standard daytime fixture.

CA will be loath to do that given it – and particularly its CEO James Sutherland – has been at the forefront of the push towards day-night Test cricket.

Its stance is that the introduction of day-night Tests will see a larger audience through the turnstiles and larger future TV rights deals given broadcasters will be able to run advertising during peak viewing times. CA says that ticket sales to date for Adelaide have been akin to those of an Ashes Test.

Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh added his support to the Adelaide experiment by saying he was a strong proponent for day-night Tests while he was a member of the MCC’s world cricket committee a decade ago.

Regardless of what the administrators and certain past players are saying the current day players who are in line for selection for Adelaide are questioning whether the concept is being launched too early as they believe there is still not a viable ball available.

The question is, are they being too be precious or should the concept be delayed until greater consensus can be reached between all interested parties?

First published on The Roar – theroar.com.au – on 27 October 2015, soliciting 78 comments