TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
IT seems South Africans won’t be able to grab a few extra hours of sleep during SA’s tour to Australia in November – reports say the visitors’ senior players are “refusing” to play the fixture under lights.
Two weeks ago The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that SA’s as yet unannounced itinerary would include tests in Perth, Hobart and Adelaide – the last of them a day/night match.
That would mean play starting at 5.30am (SA time) rather than 2am, which was when the first ball was bowled in Adelaide on SA’s last tour to Australia in 2012.
But The Australian reported on Monday that SA’s senior players had punched the day/night test’s lights out after talking to their Aussie counterparts during the latter’s T20 series in SA in March. The paper said the fixtures would be released on Tuesday.
Perhaps Australia’s players highlighted their difficulty in seeing the pink ball during the inaugural day/night test against New Zealand in Adelaide last November, not to mention the extra grass left on the pitch to help delay the ball’s deterioration – a factor in the match finishing inside three days.
Stephen Cook, who is likely to open the batting for SA in Australia and is on the executive of the SA Cricketers’ Association, argued in that direction in an interview with Times Media on Monday.
“The Aussies have had chats with some of the senior guys, who have played a whole lot more test cricket than me,” Cook said. “I know from rudimentary chats with various guys that there have been issues and a lot of concerns about the pink ball.
“A lot of our guys haven’t had enough experience (facing the pink ball) to know how it is going to play. I imagine they don’t want to feel disadvantaged by that.”
Cook said players’ views should trump what the suits want.
“Playing in a big series against Australia you don’t want a game in which one or potentially both teams are not happy with the conditions,” he said.
“In commercial terms, day/night cricket is an attractive prospect. But that needs to be balanced with the best interests of the game and what makes for an even contest between bat and ball.
“I would think they would have to respect the wishes of the guys who are actually playing.”
Even so, he admitted that he didn’t “quite know where the buck stops with this – marketing, administration, or the players? It’s a grey area.”
Rather, a pink area.