MCC to press ICC for floodlit Tests

LONDON - MCC will press for a date to be set for the first floodlit Test match when the International Cricket Council’s cricket committee meets at Lord’s this week. Keith Bradshaw, MCC’s chief executive, will deliver the message that “floodlit Tests are viable and ready to go” and will urge the committee to accept that there is no justification for further delay.

MCC, which has been in the vanguard of the movement for floodlit cricket, has prepared a study which argues that experiments in its pre-season fixture against Nottinghamshire have produced a workable solution that should be adopted before the impetus is lost. MCC used a new and, it says, improved Kookaburra ball in March when the most traditional fixture of the season took place for the second successive year in the least traditional of settings, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The ball was pink with a black seam, a modification of the pink ball with white seam that was used in the initial experiment in the same fixture last year, a change made to help batsmen pick up the flight of the ball, especially against spin bowlers. MCC’s media manager, Neil Priscott, said: “We have trialled this as much as we can. People wanted to see the pink ball tested in an abrasive climate, so we went to Abu Dhabi and results were good. We believe it is now appropriate to trial this in Test cricket. It is not premature. We have always remained absolutely committed to the integrity of Test cricket.”

Domestic trials have also been carried out by the Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket Australia but there is impatience within MCC at the desultory rate of experimentation, as deadlines for the first floodlit Test have been repeatedly put back. The irony is that Lord’s – and England in general – can still boast healthy attendances and that MCC’s ambition is to help save the Test game in other parts of the world, only to find that some countries do not seem to share their urgency.

A year ago, Dave Richardson, the ICC’s general manager, watched the MCC’s first Abu Dhabi fixture and said scientific research was needed to add substance to opinions from players and TV companies, and called one year a “realistic timeframe” to achieve that.