Cricket officials have agreed to revised start times ahead of this week’s Test match between England and Pakistan in Southampton following controversy about time lost to bad light in the last fixture.
After an agreement between the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) play will be able to commence at 10.30am – 30 minutes earlier than the usual 11am – at the Ageas Bowl should the forecast be good. Any overs lost due to bad weather can be made up by 7pm.
The ECB and ICC met with match referee Chris Broad and stakeholders such as broadcaster Sky Sports after just 134 overs – around 1.5 days of play were bowled during the second Test, at the same venue, even though the match finished late on the fifth day.
Announcing the change on Thursday, the ECB said consideration would be given to having earlier start times during future Test series in England also.
“The flexible approach will enable the prospect of making up time for inclement weather during the morning session of subsequent days rather than at the end of the day,” the ECB said in a statement.
“The match officials will ensure that light is monitored to maximise playing time while it is still safe to do so. The safety of the players is still the number one priority for this protocol.
“The revised start times have been agreed with the captains and coaches of both England and Pakistan and will be implemented for the final match of this series.”
The ECB said the decision as to what time the next day’s play will begin will be taken following discussions between the match referee, groundstaff and the ECB match manager. If the forecast looks good in the morning, it will be an option to commence play at 10.30am and that final decision will be made by the match referee.
It was reported earlier this week that the ICC is set to discuss the possibility of staging more Test matches under floodlights after the controversy over the second Test, which marked the shortest Test match in England since 1987.
After the game England captain Joe Root said: “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.”
Image: Ageas Bowl