‘Day-night Test conditions must be improved’

Pink ball (Gallo)
Pink ball (Gallo)

Sydney - The Australian cricketers' players union on Thursday urged the sport's national governing body to ensure conditions for this year's two pink ball Tests are upgraded to produce high quality matches.

South Africa this week overcame their reservations and agreed to play a day-night pink ball Test against Australia in Adelaide in November, while Pakistan are scheduled to experience the new concept in Brisbane in December.

Australian Cricketers' Association chief Alistair Nicholson said he had stressed to Cricket Australia (CA) the need for significant work to get the revolutionary format right after last year's inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand finished inside three days.

Players from both teams complained about the pink ball's movement and durability, as well as the difficulty batsmen faced seeing it under floodlights.

"The concerns of the players run deep, and with (England captain) Alastair Cook's comments we see they also run internationally," Nicholson said in a statement.

Cook said on Wednesday there was no need for day-night Tests to be introduced for the next Ashes series in Australia in 2017-18.

"A lot of the games have really good attendances, so I don't think that's a series where you need to do it at this precise moment in time," Cook said in London.

Nicholson said when the best players in the world were all expressing concerns they must be listened to and have them addressed.

"The message from players all over the world is clear: 'We want the best quality test cricket. To achieve this there is a lot of work to be done on the pink ball format,'" he said.

Nicholson added that CA must invest time and money over the next five months to develop the best possible pink ball and the best wicket to enable high quality Test cricket.

"That's what the players want and the fans deserve," he said.

Nicholson also wants next year's home Ashes series against England to stay with the traditional red ball, given the reservations expressed by rival captains Steve Smith and Cook.

"As the issue stands the collective position on Ashes cricket is that it should be preserved as a red ball contest, and the two Test captains are clearly expressing this view," he said.

"With 140 years of high quality Test cricket between Australia and England we want to ensure that contest remains at the highest standard ... the players and the fans expect this.

"Again the test is to get this format right first, before any consideration can be given to expansion."

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