The International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to discuss the possibility of staging more Test matches under floodlights after poor light affected England’s match against Pakistan at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl yesterday (Monday).
The second Test between England and Pakistan, which ended in a draw, saw just 134.3 overs played over the course of five days, with poor light and rain delays having caused disruption. It marked the shortest Test match in England since 1987.
Discussions are set to take place on how playing time can be maximised, with measures such as the introduction of pink balls and more floodlit play under consideration. The Guardian reports that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is also considering bringing forward its 11am start time when the third Test against Pakistan gets underway at the Ageas Bowl.
Light metres are currently used by umpires to determine whether matches are safe to go ahead. On the possibility of hosting more matches under floodlights, an ICC source told the Reuters news agency: “We at the ICC are open to such ideas and the ICC Cricket Committee may discuss the issue in their next meeting.”
Maximising playing time is also in the interest of broadcasters, with pay-television operator Sky paying around £20m (€22.2m/$26.5m) per Test for UK rights to the England national team. Both current and former England players have expressed frustration at the light issues, including England captain Joe Root.
“I don’t think I have ever seen a game be affected by bad light as much as this, which is very frustrating. But also the weather as well, it’s been very wet throughout the week. It is frustrating and it’s obviously been a huge talking point. I do think it needs to be addressed somewhere, somehow.”
Root added: “We want to play. We want to be involved in exciting Test cricket and try to make an impact on the world stage. We are all for playing, as long as it’s safe. (But) we don’t want anyone getting injured or hurt because of light or wet ground or surfaces.”
Image: Ageas Bowl