The players were forced from the field for almost 40 minutes as India replied to New Zealand’s total of 157 because the setting sun on Wednesday was shining through windows at the back of the grandstand and into the batters’ eyes
Umpires Shaun George of South Africa and Shaun Haig of New Zealand explained they didn’t receive an appeal from the batsmen against the light; in this case an excess of light rather than a shortage. The officials said they’d acted out of concern for the safety of the players.
The intervention of sun-strike was not entirely unexpected. A Twenty20 match at McLean Park in the past week had been interrupted for a similar reason.
The stadium was hosting its first international match since the 2015 World Cup after being dropped from New Zealand’s list of international venues because of drainage problems.
The setting sun may have become a problem Wednesday because the match started an hour later than usual to suit Indian TV audiences. The India innings was also interrupted by the dinner break because it had dismissed New Zealand in only 38 overs, meaning the visitors had to face nine overs before the scheduled break.
Napier’s Mayor Bill Dalton has slammed players for leaving field. According to him, cricketers should be tough enough to deal with a bit of sun in their eyes.
“I wonder if in India they go off the field because they have sun in their eyes,” Dalton was quoted as saying by ‘stuff.co.nz’. “To be absolutely honest with you, my view is that these guys are sportsmen who play outside. If they get a bit of sun in their eyes that’s part of the game. It’s an outdoor sport and they’ve got to toughen up… It’s all a bit weird to me,” he added.