New Delhi: India have refused to play a day-night Test during the tour of Australia later this year because of doubts over the quality of the pink ball, their cricket board said Thursday.
“Yes, it’s pretty clear that we are not playing a day-night Test in Australia, no doubt about it,” BCCI administrator Vinod Rai told AFP.
Cricket Australia (CA) had wanted the first Test in Adelaide from December 6 played under lights to tap on the growing popularity of pink-ball cricket.
But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said they did not want to get involved in an experiment in a high-profile series.
“We have been saying this all along that we are experimenting with pink ball cricket in the Duleep Trophy (India’s domestic competition) and that’s it for now,” said Rai.
CA chief executive James Sutherland has lobbied hard for top-ranked India to play a day-night match, but hinted the tourists were scared of conceding an advantage to Australia, who have won all three pink ball Tests at Adelaide.
“I think everyone in world cricket knows that, to be frank, I think they want to come out here and beat us,” said Sutherland.
“There’s a sense, or a reality, that Australia has won each of the pink-ball Test matches that have played in Australia and there may be a sense that it gives us a bit of an advantage,” Sutherland told SEN Radio Wednesday.
Observers believe the tour could be one of India’s best chance to record a first Test series win in Australia as the hosts’ star players Steve Smith and David Warner are serving 12-month bans for ball tampering.
Rai, who heads a special committee appointed by India’s Supreme Court to run the BCCI, said India would not be forced into playing a day-night Test.
“Nobody can put a gun on to our head and say play (day-night cricket). There have been doubts about the pink ball itself in Duke and Kookaburra,” Rai said, referring to the English and Australian ball manufacturers.
The powerful BCCI are one of the few national governing bodies to have avoided playing pink ball cricket at the international level.
India experimented with pink ball cricket in its Duleep Trophy domestic championship in 2016 but administrators and top players are wary about playing at international level.
India are will tour Australia from November 21 to January 19 with four Tests, three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day games on the schedule.
Australia, after playing the first floodlit Test at the Adelaide Oval in 2015 against New Zealand, also hosted South Africa the following year and England last November in day-night Tests. They won all the three games.