Skipper's blog

Putting day/night tests into context

When I first heard about Day/Night Tests the tradionalist in me bridled at the idea. Then I realised I was going to a Day/Nighter in Auckland and I liked the prospect even less. However I didn't want it to spoil my tour in any way so I tried to attend with an open mind.

The Test ran from 2pm to 9pm instead of the usual 11 till 6. Our usual routine for a Test on tour would be a swim (if possible), breakfast and off to the ground. A few beers and lunch then after the game a meal in a good restaurant for a post mortem on the days proceedings. Instead, we went for a walk and did some brief sightseeing. We had lunch near the ground, had a few beers and a grabbed some food at the ground. Afterwards was a couple of beers then home. You have to learn to make adjustments.

Your main social time is in the morning, your main sit down meal is at lunch not in the evening. You end up going to bed and getting up an hour earlier. My experience was in Auckland and this helped it work better than I anticipated. New Zealand itself works an hour earlier than England. Pubs and restaurants shut earlier and there is an outdoor, active culture. Auckland has loads of green spaces and it was possible have a few hours on an island a few miles off the coast, have lunch then catch a ferry and train back to the ground for 2pm. At the ground there was additional food and drink village behind a stand, similar to what you may find at a music festival. This helped reduce the frustration at your evening food and drinks being confined to the ground.

As for the game itself, it mainly revolves around the ball and the weather. The pink ball is much easier to see from a spectator's point of view, though I'm not sure how fielders and batsmen feel. The pink ball certainly has differences in behaviour from the red ball. There is more movement with the new ball and less movement thereafter. This puts a massive emphasis and responsibility on the opening bowlers but can also make later over quite dull and attritional. Some work needs to be done on that.

Now to the context. The main problems I have with Day/Night are based around my experience as a tourist who will attend all 5 days of a Test. It may suit a local cricket fan who could go after work or take children straight after school. It may be a fun night out for one evening. The jury is out on whether it will increase attendances. The other factor is the weather. Is it warm enough in the evening, it was in Auckland. Does it tend to rain more in the morning or afternoon?

It may mean that the future for Day/Night Tests is on a horses for courses basis. If you have the right weather, things to do in the morning, eating places near the ground and good choice of food and drink in the ground, it can work.



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