South Africa reluctant to play day-night Test

The inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand at Adelaide Oval last year was considered a success despite being finished inside three days © Getty Images

Cricket Australia is expected to announce the schedule for next summer’s home international matches on Wednesday, despite an ongoing reluctance from South Africa’s cricketers to play in a day-night Test in Adelaide. After the success of the inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand last year, it was widely expected that two day-night Tests would be part of the 2016-17 fixture, but the South Africans are concerned they will be disadvantaged.

The Australian Test summer typically begins at the Gabba but this year it is likely to start at the WACA, with South Africa to play in Perth, Hobart and Adelaide. Pakistan will then arrive for Tests in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. The third Test against South Africa and the first against Pakistan were expected to be day-night fixtures at Adelaide Oval and the Gabba respectively, and the Pakistan game is not considered in danger.

But the South African players have expressed their concerns about playing a day-night Test, despite being offered a day-night tour match to prepare for the Test. Tony Irish, the chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association, said the players lacked experience against the pink ball in night conditions.

“Our players are not in favour of playing the game under those conditions,” Irish told the Australian. “The main reason is we feel disadvantaged. Not one of our players who will compete in that Test has played Test match cricket or any cricket with a pink ball … The reluctance to play is a sign of how much importance the South African players place on the series against Australia.”

New Zealand’s players expressed similar reservations last year ahead of the inaugural day-night Test but a $1 million prize pool, split 60-40 between the winners and losers, was offered by Cricket Australia to sweeten the deal. Although the match was considered a success, it finished inside three days after a grassy pitch was prepared in order to help protect the pink ball from too much wear and tear.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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