A shame, but on balance a prudent call; that might be the best summation of New Zealand Cricket putting on hold plans for a day-night round of Plunket Shield cricket next month.

The idea was good, and is still very much on the cards for the 2016-17 season.

But essentially the plan for a pink ball round of matches starting on February 20 was shelved because an even playing field couldn't be guaranteed.

The games were to be played at Eden Park (Auckland v Otago), Hamilton's Seddon Park (Northern Districts v Canterbury) and McLean Park in Napier (Central Districts v Wellington).


However the lighting at McLean Park was deemed insufficient for pink ball cricket.

New Zealand Cricket took soundings from their Australian counterparts, who successfully hosted the inaugural day-night test against New Zealand at Adelaide Oval in late November, on light strength.

Seddon Park was fine; Eden Park too, but two out of three wasn't good enough. One idea was to simply play the Napier game as a standard daytime fixture.

Consider this situation: the two northernmost venues might have hosted matches in which one side had the better of the night-time bowling conditions and bagged easy wins.

CD and Wellington, meanwhile, played a standard match, where both teams pocketed good points. You can hear the cries of 'not fair' from Whangarei to Mosgiel from the losing teams in the other two games.

The Plunket Shield is New Zealand's premier domestic competition. It should be treated as such.

Now, unless Cricket South Africa are willing to play a day-night test at Eden Park next season, without the country having trialled the concept, the idea will be pushed back a season.

Potentially, that could be New Zealand hosting England at Eden Park under lights.

Day night test cricket will work well at certain locations. However, don't expect a rush of them in the wake of Adelaide.

England don't need them as they get good crowds for tests.

The Plunket Shield is NZ's premier domestic competition. It should be treated as such.


By contrast, in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan's de facto home for the last six years, it could work. You can count test crowds in double figures during the heat of the day at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

At night, when the workers finish, there's a good chance the crowds would get a significant bump. But day-night tests is certainly not a case of a one size fits all situation.

Cricket Australia are charging ahead with proposals for perhaps two pink ball tests next summer, involving Pakistan and South Africa, with Adelaide and Brisbane the leading contenders.

Adelaide, in some respects, provided a slightly misleading impression. It was the perfect location. Warm evenings, spectacular setting with a ground a short walk from the centre of the city.

New Zealand's climate isn't always a match for Adelaide. The likelihood is any day-night test would be played early in the year, that is the second half of a New Zealand season, when the weather tends to be warmer than pre-Christmas.

NZC are right to look hard at the concept. Indeed expect that the country will host a pink ball test in the near future. But there's no point going off half-cocked. It will happen, but do the preparation and the due diligence on the idea of pink ball tests, before committing to it.