International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson on Thursday said the historic day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand is part of an overall package to invigorate Test cricket.
Speaking ahead of the first-ever day-night Test on Friday, Richardson said the game needed to understand the demands and expectations of both fans and stakeholders, and Tests played into the evening session will provide an option to countries where Test cricket was facing attendance and commercial issues.
“The reality is that Test cricket is faced with challenges such as declining crowd attendances in some countries, as well as issues of context and competition for attention from shorter formats of the game. Either we do nothing, and let the appetite for Test cricket die, or deal with the problem head-on and with an innovative and proactive approach,” said Richardson.
“In relation to this, it has already been agreed to introduce a Test Cricket Fund from next year which will assist countries with the costs associated with staging Test matches.”
A substantial increase in the annual prize money for the No.1 ranked Test side has also been approved which will provide greater incentives and rewards to the players in this format.
The ICC is currently looking at other ways of creating more context and meaning to Test series.
Australia will take on New Zealand in the first ever day-night Test match at the Adelaide Oval using a pink ball for better visibility as opposed to the red one at night.
“On top of this, the fact that the ICC Intercontinental Cup, the first-class tournament for the leading Associate and Affiliate teams, now offers a pathway to Test cricket for the winning side of the latest edition has the potential to add further to the story of Test cricket,” said Richardson.
“Bear in mind that the success of the Adelaide Test will not mean that suddenly everyone will be expected or able to stage day-night Tests as it is not a scenario that will suit every situation. But day-night Test cricket has the potential to be one way of ensuring that cricket’s traditional format remains relevant in the modern age and continues to thrive in the coming years.”
The match is the third and final Test between the Trans-Tasman rivals with Australia leading the series 1-0.
“The game is about the public, the people who turn up to watch matches at the venues or who follow the matches on television, radio or online. Strong attendances inspire the players to produce their best, exciting the fans and creating value for the broadcasters and sponsors. Day-night Test will assist with this process,” said Richardson.
“I must compliment Cricket Australia (CA) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and their teams for having the vision to engage in this historic milestone for world cricket. I am confident that, as players have adjusted to a myriad of changes within the international game over more than 100 years, they will adjust in this instance too, and, in doing so, play an important role in taking Test cricket to a new level. I wish them the best of luck.
“I also thank the MCC for their hard work on and promotion of the day-night concept, and also the ICC Board for its approval of the idea in 2012,” said Richardson.