DUBAI: Rival captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Jason Holder backed day-night Tests to boost the future of cricket as Pakistan and West Indies play Asia’s first pink ball Test in Dubai starting Thursday.
Australia and New Zealand featured in a day-night Test at Adelaide in November last year — the first such fixture in the 140-year history of Test cricket.
The innovation was aimed at reversing the trend of dwindling crowds in the five-day game, and it became an instant success with 123,000 people turning out for a three-day finish.
Veteran Pakistan skipper Misbah believes the day-night format represents the future of Test cricket.
“At the moment it looks like the future, as far as the interest of the audience who want to watch Test cricket after they come from work,” he said on Wednesday.
“It’s a good opportunity and you will see it mostly happening in future,” added Misbah, whose team will also play in one of two day-night Tests hosted by Australia over the next couple of months.
South Africa will face the Aussies in the other day-night Test in November, and Misbah is fully behind the experiment.
“It’s worth trying in my opinion. First the one-day came, then Twenty20 came so it’s a good step to keep the Test cricket alive,” said the 42-year-old.
“Because the timings of the match are different, it will be different,” said Misbah, with play to commence at 1530 local time (1130GMT) and run until 2230 (1830GMT).
“The pink ball is different from red and white balls in that when it gets older you have to look after it as a batsman because it could be difficult (to see) at times.
“You need to make a few adjustments here and there. Overall it’s good playing under lights. It’s not terribly difficult for the batsmen. It’s a fair competition between bat and ball.”
Misbah hoped his team will make the match — Pakistan’s 400th Test — one to remember.
“Two things (the pink ball and 400th Test) have mixed so it has become exciting for the players. It’s an honour for me to be leading the Pakistan side and this becomes a motivation to do well and make it memorable.”
Holder, Misbah’s West Indian counterpart, also supported the idea of day-night Tests.
“I like the concept and I think it is one that should be there to stay. For the future of international cricket we have to give a chance to something new,” said Holder, whose team played a day-night warm-up game in Sharjah ahead of the first Test.
“It is something new, obviously teams might first take time to adjust to. Test cricket needs that bit of impetus, needs a bit of a push, I think possibly day and night cricket could be it.”
However, Holder believes sighting the pink ball could pose a challenge.
“A few of the players from the slip cordon said it was a bit difficult to pick up and also fielding square of the wicket probably looking into the sun it was difficult to sight.
“Having said that it is what it is, tomorrow starts the pink ball Test so we have got to adjust to it. I personally did not have big problems with the sighting.”
The remaining two Tests — both traditional day affairs — will be played in Abu Dhabi (October 21-25) and Sharjah (October 30-November 3). -AFP