Day-night matches can boost Test cricket - Strauss

Director of England cricket praises Warwickshire ahead of the country's first pink ball Test against West Indies

Andrew Strauss has congratulated Warwickshire for the part they have played in the staging of England’s historic first home day-night Test.

The former England captain has been at the sharp end of the development of day-night Test cricket, both in his ECB role as director of England cricket, and also as a member of the ICC’s Cricket Committee.

“Warwickshire have stuck their neck out right from the time this was first mentioned,” he stressed in an interview with the match programme ahead of England's match Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston.

“They were 100% determined to hold the first day-night Test Match in this country. They have put a lot of effort and planning into this and they are highly motivated to make it a success. I’m hoping for some beautiful sunny August weather, and to see a great spectacle.

Edgbaston hosted the first competitive domestic day-night fixture between Warwickshire and Somerset in 1997

“The pink ball Test fits into a number of things we’re trying to do at the ECB – and the ICC are also supportive.

“The first one is to try and keep the Test match format alive and vibrant and relevant in a rapidly evolving cricket landscape. When you see the success that Australia in particular have had with their pink ball Tests, the idea of creating a great day-night spectacle in England felt like it was one worth exploring.

“But there’s another element of this, about broadening the opportunity for people to come and watch cricket in this country – specifically Test cricket, in this case. There will hopefully be some people here today who wouldn’t normally be able to attend a Test, whether because they couldn’t get the day off work, or just haven’t thought about it before. If we get some different people here, that’s a win for us.

“Obviously we’re aware of all the arguments around the weather and other things in this country. But we feel strongly that until we try it we don’t know - and therefore we should try it. Let’s not be afraid of that. This is an opportunity to highlight the game of Test cricket and make it look compelling and new and fresh - while at the same time recognising that Test cricket is alive and well and thriving in this country.”

There was another practical imperative for Strauss to ensure that Joe Root and his England players had some pink-ball experience this summer – with two day-night Tests looming Down Under this winter, against New Zealand in Auckland next March, and of course the second Ashes Test against Australia in Adelaide in December.

“From my point of view, and I suppose most relevant for the England team, we have two day-night Test Matches coming up this winter,” Strauss explained.

“I think day-night cricket is going to be firmly on the agenda of a number of countries moving forward. So the earlier we experience that before an Ashes series the better, to be able to prepare ourselves, to understand the nuances of that pink ball, when does it swing, when does it reverse swing, etc. Those are all vitally important if we want to do ourselves justice in Adelaide.

“Once we’d made the decision to go ahead with the pink-ball Test at Edgbaston, we arranged a day-night round of matches in the Specsavers County Championship, and made our England players available. The weather wasn’t great, but a number of them gained some important experience – and we also learned a lot of operational lessons ahead of the Test.”

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