Pakistan plans day-night Test with Sri Lanka in UAE
16 August, 2013
LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has offered Sri Lanka Cricket a chance to play a day-night Test on their tour to the United Arab Emirates in winter.
Two of three Tests on the tour are scheduled in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and these could be potential venues to host the day-night Test. A PCB spokesman told Our Sources on Thursday that had proposed playing day-night Tests in the upcoming series against Sri Lanka in the UAE in a bid to attract bigger crowds. The International Cricket Council (ICC) last year approved the idea of day-night matches played under floodlights as a way to stem dwindling interest in Tests in many countries. No country has yet tried the new format and the ICC has left it to individual boards to decide when and how to experiment. “We have proposed the idea of playing day-night Tests with Sri Lanka in December-January in UAE and their reply is awaited,” PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar said.
The PCB staged the five-day final of its premier first-class tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, under lights in December 2011, an event appreciated by the ICC. The challenge facing such Tests has been to find a ball that is clearly visible in both sunshine and floodlights, and Sarwar said a discussion on the colour of the balls to be used was under way with the Sri Lankan board. “We have sent them a dozen cricket balls of pink and orange colour so that they can have further Tests,” said Sarwar. “Nothing has been finalised.” Pakistan has been forced to play its “home” internationals at neutral venues, mainly in the UAE, since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team during a Test in Lahore in 2009. Pakistan host Sri Lanka for three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20s in December and January in the UAE and Sarwar feels the conditions are right to experiment.
“The time and weather would be ideal as there will be no dew at that time and it will be feasible to play under lights,” said Sarwar, who disagrees the idea would cost more to an already financially-hit PCB. “Studies we have done reveal that day-night Tests will generate more public interest and in turn more gate money,” said Sarwar. “The sponsors are also interested as they get prime time viewing.” The UAE has a large expatriate Pakistani community but few show up to watch Test matches, in part because they are played during the day when most are at work. The first Test starts in Dubai on December 31. The other two Tests are in Abu Dhabi (January 8-12) and Sharjah (January 16-20).
Sri Lanka Cricket has not conducted any trials for day-night first-class or Test cricket, but appear positively disposed to the prospect of being a part of the first floodlit Test. Sri Lanka Cricket president Jayantha Dharmadasa was quoted as saying yesterday the SLC had not yet discussed the subject at length, but suggested that unless major objections arose in talks, Sri Lanka would agree to play the match under lights. “We shouldn't say no if the only reason is that it doesn't suit us,” Dharmadasa said. “In the past we've had 50-over cricket come into the game, then Twenty20s. In the future it will be day-night Tests. It would be a good thing for us to be part of the first day-night Test. People will be looking at it. I've still got to talk to the cricket committee, the selectors, and the cricketers, so we'll see what comes out of those meetings.”