Pink ball can revive Test cricket: Steve Waugh
Melbourne: Former Australia captain Steve Waugh says cricketers need to look at the bigger picture when it comes to day-night Test cricket, believing the format could be the saving grace of the longer form of the game worldwide.
Players including Adam Voges, Peter Siddle and Tom Latham expressed concerns over the deterioration of the pink ball in last Friday’s Prime Minister’s XI versus New Zealand clash on an abrasive pitch at Canberra’s Manuka Oval.
But Waugh believes the potential for day-night scheduling to transform Test cricket, particularly in countries where crowds and interest are flagging, is too great to ignore.
“I think it’s a great initiative for cricket. Test cricket is withering away in a lot of countries. Australia and England are the only two places where people come to watch Tests, so we have to stimulate excitement and get people watching again. Once we play one (day-night) Test people will go, ‘What were we worried about?’,” Waugh was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Monday.
“People want to see a little bit of change. Sometimes it’s hard for players to understand that, but sometimes you’ve got to see the bigger picture for the good of Test cricket,” the batting great added.
“It might not be a perfect ball, it might discolour a bit and it might be tough for batsmen for some portion of the match, but it’s been that way for one-day cricket since it started. There’s always been that twilight area after tea where the lights are not quite perfect, but you just get on with it.”
Waugh, 50, has been a long-time supporter of day-night Tests, saying the idea had been discussed during his eight years on the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee.
“That was one of the things we were pushing for probably 10 years ago. I think it’s needed. Not so much in Australia, where we have good crowds, but in a lot of other countries where the Test match crowds are basically non-existent, you need to ignite the interest and the passion and I think day-night cricket will do that,” Waugh, who played 168 Tests and 325 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) between 1985 and 2004, said.
“I remember when World Series cricket started, I was a young kid and I was that excited to go and see a day-night game with a white ball. We need that sort of thing happening in Tests.”