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The Pros & Cons of Day-Night Test Cricket

England and The West Indies will take part in the first ever day-night test to be held In England on Thursday at Edgbaston. It will actually be the fifth day-night test series to take place since the format made its debut in November 2015.

Australia have taken part in three of the current four, beating New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan. Pakistan came out on top in the other day-night match to take place, beating the West Indies.

As it stands, England and the West indies will get underway at 2pm and continue through ‘til 9pm and there is the possibility of an extra 30 minutes being played. Many people are asking whether the format works though…

A great plus point is the fact that the day-night format draws bigger audiences, both at venues as well as tv viewers. Test cricket seemed to be dwindling in popularity and these changes may breathe fresh life into the format. The more people in the crowd will also mean more revenue and that can only be a positive. It is also more convenient for viewers all around the globe in terms of being able to watch live on television.

Many experts who have investigated other sports have found that the optimal time for peak physical performance is in the afternoon through to the evening. Studies carried out discovered that key organs, such as the lungs, work more efficiently later in the day. This had led to the idea that viewers could see a better standard of cricket on show in the day-night format as the players will be in optimal physical condition.

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For many spectators and tv viewers, watching cricket under the lights so to speak, is a memorable experience. It just looks a lot better and some fans will be attracted to watch or even attend due to the aesthetically pleasing nature of the event. Watching a test match under the lights could really rejuvenate the test series format.

With the day-night format being rather new, there are going to be teething problems and things that can be improved on. One of them is sorting out visibility issues. The pink ball, even for the more experienced pros, isn’t easy to spot or catch under the glare of the lights. Fielders must be able to see the ball and not being able to do so is a hindrance that needs resolving.

Visibility is also an issue for the batsmen. It has been pointed out that as the day light fades but the lights aren’t bright enough, it reduces the visibility for a batsmen who may struggle to spot the pink ball on the approach. Measures such as a short break could be used to prevent these issues occurring.

Day-night cricket could really breathe fresh life into test cricket by enabling more people to watch and through attracting bigger crowds. The biggest drawback is the use of the pink ball and the problems that arise due to its use. Many also feel the format is a step away from tradition but it had to happen to revive cricket’s oldest format.

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