Cricket: New Zealand embracing idea of second pink ball test in India

By David Leggat

The Black Caps may play another pink ball test in India in October. Photo / Getty
The Black Caps may play another pink ball test in India in October. Photo / Getty

Expect New Zealand to play their second pink ball cricket test in India in October.

Indian officials raised New Zealand eyebrows late last week with their announcement that they ''will" play one of New Zealand's tests on their visit under lights.

However New Zealand Cricket are embracing the idea, provided the appropriate boxes are ticked. Pencil in Mumbai as the most likely venue.

NZC chief executive David White had talks with Indian officials during the International Cricket Council meeting in Dubai late last week.

It's certainly not a done deal, but has a strong chance of coming off.

India will trial pink balls in domestic matches before New Zealand's arrival.

If they work well in the conditions, in terms of ball wear and tear and batting visibility of the pink ball - which was an issue in the inaugural day-night test last December between Australia and New Zealand in an otherwise spectacular entry of the night time cricket concept - it will go ahead.

''We've said we are receptive to the idea," White said today.

''We will work closely with the players, but in saying that, if the trials look good and they (India) are comfortable with (the trials) it's very positive from our point of view. We believe day-night test cricket has a big future in the game."

Mumbai - affectionately known as the Gateway to India for the city's spectacular monument facing the ocean - ticks the population box, with a capacity of 33,000 at the Wankhede stadium, and in a city of 11.9 million.

NZC would insist on at least one practice match under lights if the pink ball test gets a tick.

White said there was a solid consensus around the ICC table in Dubai about the importance of day-night cricket in the future test landscape.

''The sentiment was very positive. Everyone realises it's going to be important for the future of the test format, to make it accessible to the fans."

However a decision on whether New Zealand will host South Africa in a day-night test next summer is still some way off.

White said he had brief discussions on the concept with South African officials in Dubai. However he did indicate there may not be a need for a full round of pink ball Plunket Shield matches in the early part of next season as a prelude to a day-night test.

The idea was canned last February when only two of the three proposed venues - Hamilton's Seddon Park and Eden Park -- had sufficient quality lighting. Three matches were deemed important to the integrity of the competition, so there could be no accusations about an uneven playing field for the six major associations.

However White hinted that might not be a deal-breaker next season.

''I'm not sure whether you need a full round. There's only one venue you need to play (a day-night test) at. But we're still working through that detail at the moment."

- NZ Herald

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