Test captains have universally rejected a proposal to play tight matches to a finish under floodlights.
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The International Cricket Council consulted teams to check if there was a will to circumvent established playing conditions and press on, even in ever worsening light, when a result is imminent.
It is a pragmatic solution which would have prevented the scenes in Abu Dhabi at the end of the first Test between England and Pakistan when play was called off with the tourists needing only another 25 runs in eight scheduled overs.
But ICC chief executive Dave Richardson has revealed Test captains across the board, such as England’s Alastair Cook, were not in favour of the idea on the grounds that it could bring “unjust” conclusions.
Cook queried the decision to abandon play at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday evening, questioning whether, with the floodlights on but the desert dusk gathering, conditions were “unfair” or “unsafe” for either team.
But speaking two days later at ICC headquarters in Dubai, Richardson made clear that current protocol has been retained after relevant player consultation.
He said: “We have attempted in the past to say to the players ‘Look, if you’ve got floodlights and they’re good enough to use for Test cricket, we should just bite the bullet – and even if conditions aren’t as good as they might be normally, we should play on and just finish the day’s play or the match’.
“However, that approach wasn’t accepted by any of the teams really. So it’s a problem we’re still faced with.”
Richardson also clarified reports that the ICC had identified ‘greeny-yellow’ as the best colour for balls to be used in deteriorating visibility or for day-night Test cricket.
A pink ball is to be used in next month’s inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide, and it seems that is still the front-running colour – but by no means the only one.
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As for his reported suggestion that cricket’s future is ‘greeny-yellow’, Richardson said: “I was just talking about a different-coloured ball, and said ‘pink, yellow, green, whatever’ … nothing specific but more with the principle of trying to develop a different-coloured ball that you can see in day-night conditions or under floodlights – and one that lasts the pace.
“It’s something that is unfortunate – we’re trying to look for a solution, and frankly we’re not quite there.”
The ICC is preparing for initial discussions with the International Olympic Committee about cricket’s possible inclusion in future Games, and Richardson cited the aspiration to be “the world’s favourite sport”.
Spreading the word via global development, among 95 associate member nations, and continuing the fight against the blight of match-fixing remain key elements to that aim.
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