As the action moves from Test cricket to the World Cup prospects, the angst over India’s refusal to play the day and night version in Adelaide will have been briefly assuaged. But it brings about the question: how important is day and night Test cricket and really, how feasible?
While the push for day and night Test cricket as also, the shortest format of cricket as are being introduced, has been tremendous, it has often overlooked the fact that while Test cricket itself has not always enjoyed fairness of pitches and conditions, more is being demanded of an ill prepared cricket world to reap the advantages of a radical idea called day and night cricket.
For one, not every stadium around the world hosting Test cricket is capable of hosting a day and night affair. With the conditions over lighting, the colour of the ball, the pitch conditions and the weather, it appears there is still a long way to go in terms of a fair assessment and universal standard before day and night Test cricket can be dubbed the messiah that saves the five day format.
Undoubtedly any innovation is at first a novelty and then an addiction provided it can provide all the pieces of the jigsaw or in the case of Twenty20, usurp the relevance of one day internationals by simply emulating the formula on a smaller, much faster scale. For Test cricket, while its greatest test of sustainability has come from the over commercialization of Twenty20 that has had the potbellied administrators running to the bank in glee, there is merit enough to understand that while the players may have compromised some of their skills for the game to barely go the distance of five days these days, not enough has been invested into making Test cricket as pliable as Twenty20 in the first place in the advent of the latter.
If anything, there has been this contentious issue that worldwide there has been a deliberate push by the cricket’s administrators to milk cricket through its easiest format, Twenty20, which calls for less fairer pitches, only more batting opportunities for the bludgeoning batsmen. While that equation has changed a bit in recent years with a change in perception, it has not been drastic enough to give Twenty20 the legitimacy to represent cricket as the game’s highest, most revered format. That day and night Test cricket has not been tested enough even at the domestic cricket level and yet is being pushed as the savior that upholds cricket in its most pristine avatar is foolhardy.
While the novelty of a day and night Test and the possibility of increasing gate revenue may be enticing, what has to be remembered is that day and night Test cricket can do only as much as a day affair that is the present Test cricket scenario and unless more is done in the area of preparing fairer pitches, of allowing players to shift formats with greater tour practice which has gone out of the window with the advent of Twenty20 and that the cricket administrators put more time, energy and money into marketing these Test cricket series, day and night cricket could simply go the way of Test cricket or worse, die out as an idea that never saw the light.