Retiring selector Mark Waugh has lashed out at “selfish” India for refusing to play a day-night Test during their tour of Australia, accusing the cricketing power of holding back the game.
Cricket Australia wanted the first Test in Adelaide from December 6 played under lights to tap into the growing popularity of pink-ball cricket. But India, who are yet to play a day-night Test, said they were not interested in experimenting in such a high-profile series.
The Australians have played four day-night Tests since 2015, three of them in Adelaide, winning them all.
Waugh, who is stepping down as a national selector when his contract expires on August 31, said the decision was not only disappointing, but selfish given the falling popularity of Test cricket. “It’s a little bit selfish from India’s point of view because we need to revitalise Test cricket,” he said in The Australian newspaper on Thursday.
“Day-night Test cricket in some countries is going to be one of those ingredients that could transform Test cricket back to where it should be.”
CA believes day-night Test cricket is a more television-friendly format and perhaps the only way to revitalise the five-day version of the game which is flagging globally following the rise of the quickfire Twenty20 format.
Waugh said Australia, India and England were the only places where Test cricket was “alive and well”.
“India’s team is pretty well suited to day-night cricket, they’ve got a string of fast bowlers, so they don’t just rely on the spinners and their batsman are technically very good as well,” he said. “So for the greater good of the game, I would have loved to have seen that as a day-night Test.”
In announcing their decision earlier this month, BCCI administrator Vinod Rai said “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,” he added, referring to the English and Australian ball manufacturers.
India experimented with pink ball cricket in its Duleep Trophy domestic championship in 2016 but administrators and top players remain 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.