Adelaide’s annual Test match will be an all-day affair for the first time since 2014 after Cricket Australia (CA) conceded that the BCCI would not accept a pink-ball fixture.
CA’s chief executive James Sutherland had held out hope of a day-night match until as recently as last week’s announcement of the schedule for 2017-18, but his arguments failed to convince the BCCI.
BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhury wrote to Sutherland on Monday, saying the Committee of Administrators, the supervising authority of the Indian board, had decided that India would only be ready to play pink-ball Test cricket sometime next year. “I am directed to say by the Committee of Administrators that India would begin to play in the format only in about a year’s time,” Choudhury wrote in an e-mail, accessed by PTI. “Under the circumstances, I regret to say that the proposed day-night Test cannot be played and all Tests will have to have the conventional structure.”
“We can confirm that we have received advice from the BCCI that it is not prepared to participate in a proposed day-night Test in Adelaide this summer,” a CA spokesperson said. “As a result, we can now confirm this Test match will be a day format… We are committed to hosting at least one day-night Test each home summer as part of our continued focus to grow Test cricket, and we are excited about the day-night Test against Sri Lanka at the Gabba in January.”
Australia have been pioneers of the format, and have won all four of the day-night Tests they have played at home. Sutherland had previously contended that India’s reticence was based on issues of competitive advantage. This view perhaps reflects the BCCI’s statement that India is not yet ready for pink-ball Test cricket.
“There’s always a bit of trepidation and conservatism in India and, to be frank, I think they want to come out here and beat us,” Sutherland told SEN Radio. “There’s a sense that perhaps Australia has won each of the pink-ball Test matches played in Australia, it gives us a bit of an advantage.
“I think personally the home country should have the right to schedule matches as it sees fit and start them at whatever time of day they want. The Adelaide Test match in the day-night format has been a huge success – it’s been a great story in terms of attendances and atmosphere but also television audiences.
“It’s the way of the future and India may or may not come around to that idea for this tour but I still believe it’s the way of the future. I think everyone in world cricket knows that.”
The decision is a blow for CA’s new broadcast partners Fox Sports and Seven, with the Adelaide Test under lights drawing the strongest television audiences of the past three summers. Sutherland has expressed hope that once the ICC Test Championship begins in 2019 there will be regulations in place to allow the home board to decide on a series format.
“This summer is the last season of Test tours as we know it,” he said. “We move to the Test Championship in July 2019, where the Ashes will be the first series of the new Test Championship. We are hoping there will be some sort of regulation that will allow home teams to fixture at least one day-night Test match.”