Morgan foresees floodlit Tests

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ICC president David Morgan has revised his opinions on day/night Tests, maintaining "bringing crowds out" is a priority

International Cricket Council president David Morgan expects day-night Test matches to be introduced within two years to address dwindling attendance figures.

Morgan insists the ICC are committed to addressing declining interest levels in the five-day game in some nations by permitting the ground-breaking change.

A pink ball is being trialled for use under floodlights, and a version of it will be used in MCC’s domestic season curtain-raiser against Durham in Abu Dhabi in late March.

Test cricket remains hugely popular in England and Wales but Morgan believes day-night Test matches are still viable, though the driving force for the measure are nations such as Australia and India.

"The ICC has recognised that in some countries Test cricket is not that popular in terms of people paying at the gate," he said.

"We want to ensure Test cricket is as popular around world as it is in England.

"All 10 full board members at the ICC are switched on to improving Test cricket and its attendances.

"That includes the England and Wales Cricket Board because if Test cricket were to wither around the world it would cause a problem here.

"If you look at a country like Australia with big stadia and very hot conditions, it's made for day-night Test cricket.

"Eighteen months ago I wouldn't have been overly-enthusiastic about this, thinking of tradition and records.

"But Test cricket has changed over 130 years and there are now very good reasons for bringing crowds out.

"I'd be surprised if we don't see day-night Test cricket within the next two years - surprised and disappointed.

"There is no reason why day-night Test cricket won't be attractive in England, like one-day games and Twenty20.

"But it's in other countries with hot conditions and large stadia where it becomes more important."

Pink ball

A pink cricket ball was trialled in MCC matches in 2008, and the club will again turn to that colour leather in Abu Dhabi

Test cricket's position as the game's cherished and outstanding format has been challenged by the growing popularity of one-day and Twenty20, especially on the sub-continent.

However, Morgan today voiced the ICC's view that the five-day game remains the summit of the sport - both as a spectacle and commercially.

"At the ICC we regard Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game - it's the form cricketers seek to play," he said.

"I believe cricket is greatly advantaged in having three properties at international level in Twenty20, one-dayers and Test matches.

"It's interesting that Test cricket has endured and I'm sure it will continue to thrive.

"The biggest events are the Ashes and India against Pakistan. They are the big earners and revenues in Test cricket are bigger.

"England against South Africa and South Africa against Australia are not far behind."

Morgan admits a means for determining the Test-playing world champions - currently under discussion - is crucial to the sport.

"A context for Test cricket is certainly required, but some boards are reluctant to give up their rights," he said.

"We are examining means and ways of producing Test match cricket that has context. You will note I am avoiding using the words 'world championship'.

"In terms of each Test match having context beyond bilateral series, real progress could be made soon.

"There could well be a climax but I don't know what that will be with any degree of certainty."

Morgan stated that security is the biggest problem facing world cricket in light of the Lahore attacks earlier this year and confirmed the ICC would like to relocate to Lord's.

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