David Leggat: Proteas take the shine off pink-ball test

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Kane Williamson won't play a pink-ball test next summer. Photo / Getty Images
Kane Williamson won't play a pink-ball test next summer. Photo / Getty Images

South Africa's resistance to playing a pink-ball test in Australia in November may also be a grim pointer of hopes of playing a day-night test in New Zealand next year.

Having taken part in the inaugural pink-ball test against Australia at Adelaide last December, there have been plans to host a five-dayer in New Zealand.

However, the ambition of playing a round of Plunket Shield matches early this year under lights as a dry run failed to materialise for logistical reasons. Eden Park in Auckland and Seddon Park (Hamilton) would have worked. Napier's McLean Park lighting wasn't sufficient -- and it may be that next summer is one too soon.

South Africa have resisted Cricket Australia's plans to have the deciding match of their three-game series, also at Adelaide in late November, played with a pink ball.

CA are unimpressed but won't be opening the cheque book to get the match over the line, as they did to the tune of A$1 million to the players for the inaugural pink-ball match.

Cricket South Africa are resistant because they don't want to be guinea pigs for CA's drive for more cricket under lights, and potentially a decider to a high-profile series, and without any preparation.

New Zealand Cricket's general manager of cricket Lindsay Crocker rated the prospects of a day-night test at, say, Eden Park early next year as possible rather than probable.

"We've only had early discussions with them and haven't greatly advanced on the pink ball," Crocker said. "Our greater concentration has been around commitments to dates and we're nearly there."

NZC chief executive David White is expected to discuss the issue with South African counterpart Haroon Lorgat during the International Cricket Council meetings in Dubai this week.

Crocker sympathises with the South African players' views of lack of preparation.

That said, he believes in time South Africa's stance may come to be seen as curious, given the day-night tests will become more common, and South Africa's climate is well-suited to day-night cricket.

Pakistan have no such reservations and are playing their first pink ball test in Brisbane in December.

England are the main feature of the 2017-18 New Zealand season. The chances of a day-night test against them are better than they are against the South Africans next summer.

- NZ Herald

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