As I sneaked in my illicit breakfast at my local café this morning, I took the opportunity to check out that fount of all knowledge worth knowing: “The Sun”, and came across a rather insightful article in the part of the newspaper I tend to go to first: the sports page, which was about day-night Test cricket.
For those who don’t know, England are playing their first day night cricket test match in this country, and happen incidentally to be doing rather well. Part of the rationale is it is done to widen the appeal for people watching. A number of interesting points came out, like cricket played in England, during the summer months, is played when darkness does not descend until rather late. This is in contrast to places like India and Australia, when it gets dark earlier. It also tends to attract a different sort of crowd – the more genteel type in the daytime game has been replaced by drinkers.
Not so much to do with day and night, or pink balls as opposed to the traditional red balls, but England’s opposition in the game currently being played, the West Indies, is rather weak. This is a pity, especially for those like me who can remember the great West Indies sides, that were formidable forces that put fear in the hearts of the English side and were invariably well worth watching. It has not been helped that some of the better West Indies players have opted not to play Test matches, and have chosen instead to seek out more lucrative pastures and chase the money.
As for the day night format, it matters little whether or not this is adopted for Test cricket if it isn’t competitive, for it is about great players competing against each other. Personally, I like the idea of it being adopted in countries where it does get light early, but that is not a factor for England. What we need is top class, attritional cricket. The previous test series (against South Africa) was a mixed bag and, while England came out best they were far from convincing. Let’s hope in the forthcoming winter series in Australia, whatever time of the day the matches are played, that we will see two excellent sides playing excellent cricket and, while it is nice to see England doing well in the game being played (Cook has just scored a double century), we will witness glimpses of greatness.