UAE could host the first day-night cricket test series

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) are both open to playing at least one of their three Tests in the UAE, in floodlit cricket grounds, reported ESPN online on Thursday.

If the plan to play night-time cricket goes ahead, it will mark the first time a test game has been played under floodlights, an idea that aims to attract more fans, as they can come after they finish work, according to the Emirates Cricket Board.

Mazhar Khan, an ECB administrator said: “If day-night matches are held here, it will be good for the fans. They can come and watch Test cricket after office hours.”

The International Cricket Council (ICC), cricket’s governing body, has approved of the idea of playing Tests under lights but has left it the national boards to decide on the hours of play and color of the ball.

Nadeem Sarwar, the PCB spokesman said, “we have offered to play a Test match under lights,” in an interview with ESPNcricinfo, an online news outlet.

“We are keen to experiment with day-night Test cricket as we believe that this would help in reviving interest in the format.

“The major aspect in our discussion is the correspondence on the color and brand of the ball,” he added.

“The venues are definitely ideal and there is no dew factor involved in December and January.”

Pakistan’s plans have been welcomed by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and the matches are set to start at 3pm, UAE time, this December and January.

“If Pakistan would want day-night Test matches we are ready for it. We have got the facilities for it in all our stadiums,” said ECB Chief Executive David East to USE-based Gulf News.

SLC president, Jayantha Dharmadasa, is also reportedly open to the idea.

“We shouldn’t say no if the only reason is that it doesn’t suit us,” Dharmadasa was quoted by ESPNcricinfo as saying.

“In the past we’ve had 50-over cricket come into the game, then Twenty20s. In the future it will be day-night Tests.”

“It would be a good thing for us to be part of the first day-night Test. People will be looking at it.”

The three-Test series will begin in Dubai on December 31, followed by the second Test in Abu Dhabi from January 8 and third Test in the emirate Sharjah from January 16.

Maqbul Dudhia, General Manager Sports Business at Dubai Sports City, who own the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, said to Gulf News, “our stadium has the finest lighting for day-night Test cricket with the ‘Ring of Fire’ lighting system.”

“It will be an amazing experience and we would be extremely proud to host the match. UAE has a strong cricket-loving public and it will be a great opportunity for them to be part of cricket history.”

Color of Choice

The idea has been tested by the Marylebone Cricket Club in Abu Dhabi with a pink cricket ball.

ECB’s East said, “We know it works and we gave got good reports on it.”

Pink will most likely be the color chosen for the Tests, as it acts as a mix between the white and red balls used to be seen in night and day matches respectively.

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