Day/Night Tests Anyone?

By Afia Salam

No, I haven't thought of all the pros and cons of the issue... but the very idea of airing this idea is to invite them from the cricket administrators, who have been, over the years, able to steer the game through such cataclysmic changes as limited over's cricket, and day/ night matches.

Come to think of it,why not night Test matches.... unless the administrators come up with a very strong reason against them.......though they are more in search of spectators who seem to have deserted the traditional form of the game, switching loyalties to the limited over's variety, which was supposed to be just a side show to the 'real thing.'

Their phenomenal popularity, and consequent revenue generation spawned the modification of the day/night matches, and more and more stadia across the world are equipping themselves with the lighting system that would enable them to host such matches, which have proved very popular with the paying public.

It is to lure this very paying public, though it has become secondary in importance to the television audiences, that I am suggesting the holding of day/night Test matches. Ask any cricketer worth his salt and he will tell you that the multitude of cameras in an empty stadium can never get the adrenalin running like the buzz of excitement of a full house can. The cheer, jeers, applause and appreciation of an involved audience is the incentive players need to perform well.

Sadly, this has been missing in the Test matches, which, due to their time consuming nature, have been losing the company of fans who, despite their tremendous interest in the Tests, find it very hard to pluck out five days from their busy schedules to devote to their favourite game.

Matches beginning in the late afternoon and continuing into the night, especially in our part of the world, would not only offset the uncomfortable effects of the weather, but also afford a few hours of cricketing pleasure to students and office-goers alike who will be able to witness some part of the game each day, without having to miss out on their professional and educational commitments.

As far as the 'security' and logistic issues, which always crop up, surely a solution can be found for them. As it is, one cannot really forsee a full house on all five days of a Test just because of the change in timing. ........ even if it manages to up the attendence a few percentage points, the objective will have been achieved.

Another way to revive interest and fill the stands would be to transplant the Sri Lankan method of making the occasion an outing for school children, who can come to see the matches along with their supervising teachers.

Hopefully, once the sordid saga of betting and match fixing is over, cricket will come out of it intact and resume its role as a character-builder.. and cricketers will once again will become the role models worth emulating by the school children. That is the segment that all attention needs to be focussed on.... the cadre that needs to be groomed not only in the technicalities of the game but its traditional values too.... which have the capability to endure the stresses and strains of the times, though the current crisis may appear to give an impression to the contrary.

Let us get them to the stadia... without making them miss out on the other important, and routine activities..... let us make Test matches more accessible for them as well as those who find the constraints of time keeping them away from their favourite game.

Let us hear the practical pros and cons of whether it is possible to hold day/night Test matches.


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