In about three weeks at roughly 7pm, weather permitting, the Black Caps versus Bangladesh cricket match at Napier's McLean Park will stop.

If it is a lovely, clear Hawke's Bay summer's evening the February 13 game will be unsafe to play due to sunstrike.

Cricket commentators will kill time hypothesising about the McLean Park Squint, and what can be done about it.

But play will start again about 7.40pm, and the sun will set at 8.15pm.


Crystal ball gazing? No, just very amateur meteorology based on the time the sun set in Napier on Wednesday, and the time that the Black Caps versus India one-day international stopped for 40 minutes because of sunstrike.

It's now well documented that the result wasn't the only thing that didn't go well on Wednesday night.

The game was delayed for 40 minutes because the sun setting in the west shone in the eyes of the Indian batters. And a few of the Black Cap fielders.

Ironic, given that this was McLean Park's return to the international stage after the February 2017 embarrassment of a water-logged game.

About 7.20pm, the Indian batters gestured toward the Chapman Stand. The umpires conferred.

Black Cap opening bowler Tim Southee jokingly offered Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan his sunglasses.

New Zealand's captain, Kane Williamson, made a mock "what's going on gesture" with his hands but he knew the batsmen's complaint was valid.

So did his wicket keeper, Tom Latham, who had played in a January 19 domestic T20 during which the same thing happened.


The Chapman Stand - virtually empty, by the way - did not shield the sun.

Napier mayor Bill Dalton suggested the batters should have played on.

Dalton reckoned, in his experience, sunstrike wasn't a problem for sports like speedway. An odd parallel.

Dalton's tongue must have been firmly in his cheek because facing Lockie Ferguson at just under 150km/h with the sun in your eyes, well, you'd end up with a few teeth embedded firmly in your cheek as well.

Cricket batsmen have died facing fast bowlers in perfect light.

So what to do?

The only logical solution seems to be to rotate the pitch.

It would mean the majority of the grandstand spectators would be watching end on, or at the very least on an angle.

But if it means securing the future of international cricket in Napier, it would be a small sacrifice.

To do this before February 13 would require a ground-keeping miracle. (Or a drop-in pitch).

Hence our cheeky prediction that in three weeks the game will stop about 7pm.

Sportsgrounds are known for their quirks, but ones that hold the game up in pristine conditions are likely to be frowned upon. TV rights, and all that.

There is one other solution - the Bangladesh match is during the Art Deco Festival. Perhaps a giant pair of 1930s bloomers could be erected as some form of shade sail.

Anything to avoid McLean Park being caught with its pants down again.