India is planning to host its first day/night Test match later this year as cricket’s global powerhouse seeks to reverse a decline in attendances, according to senior officials.
Anurag Thakur, the secretary of the Indian board, said that matches in the domestic Duleep Trophy would be played in the evening as a trial run and administrators would then decide which ground should host the day/night Test against New Zealand.
“We have decided that we will play one day-night Test match with the pink ball against New Zealand later this year,” Thakur said in comments quoted in Indian newspapers and confirmed by his office.
“Before that, the Duleep Trophy will act as a dress rehearsal for the day-night Test match.”
New Zealand is slated to tour India in October to play three Tests and five ODIs and Thakur said that “there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account” before the board makes a final decision.
“We have not zeroed in on the venue. Things like dew factor, how the spinners bowl with the pink kookaburra ball in Indian pitches, we will get an idea during the Duleep Trophy,” said Thakur.
New Zealand also played in the first—and so far only—day/night Test which was staged by Australia in November last year.
Lindsay Crocker, the New Zealand board’s head of operations, stopped short of confirming an agreement on the match but said the idea was exciting.
“India are quite definitive, which is quite exciting because they seem quite committed to the idea. We hadn’t considered that it would be an option so there is a bit of water to go under the bridge from our side,” Crocker told the Stuff.co.nz website.
While India usually draws full houses for ODI and Twenty20s, Test matches are often played out in front of half-full stadiums.
If India were to regular stage day/night Test, the BCCI—which is already the wealthiest board in world cricket—could expect to jack up the price for broadcasting rights.
Its domestic T20 tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL), attracts big television audiences for matches which are nearly all played at night.