Australian cricketers are taking matters into their own hands and exploring new technology in a bid to find a solution to the frustrating rain delay that marred the third Test of the series against South Africa.
Persistent rain saw Friday’s game abandoned as not a single ball was bowled at the SCG on Friday. This came after more than 50 overs of play were lost in the first two days due to downpours and bad light.
Speaking on Friday, Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) chief executive Todd Greenberg said it was time for cricket authorities to act decisively to ensure play could continue even under dark skies.
Day Three of the third test between Australia and South Africa at the SCG has been washed out
And he pointed out that the pink ball, currently used for the nightly Tests, was the logical solution.
‘If we are truly going to compete with everyone else [in the entertainment industry]we couldn’t leave because of the bad light,’ he told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
‘So what are those solutions? Is it a pink ball? I understand why everyone would yell at me and say no, but is there better ball possession technology that allows us to stay on the field?
‘We had a whole stadium with hundreds of thousands watching on TV. We should be back on the field.’
More than 50 overs of the game were lost in the first two days due to heavy rain and bad light
Greenberg said the ACA would open talks with Cricket Australia about the possibility of working as a joint-venture to find a solution, but the body pledged it would be prepared to work alone if necessary.
The former NRL boss insisted the powers that be in world cricket could no longer ‘sit around and whine about the fact we’re not on the field’, but had to explore every possible avenue to find a solution.
He also criticized the International Cricket Council’s idle approach to the issue of bad lighting, which has resulted in a power-vacuum at the risk of leaving cricket ‘caught in the past’.
Bad lighting has long been an issue in cricket, with the red ball being too difficult for batsmen to see even with the flood lights on.
Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Todd Greenberg (left) has called for cricket to find a solution to deal with stoppages caused by bad lighting
Pink balls are already used in nightly Test matches in England and Australia
But Marnus Labuschagne believes that using a pink ball is not a practical solution to bad lighting
Greenberg acknowledged that players cannot be asked to face the red ball when visibility is poor, but insisted that significant resources are needed to find a viable solution.
However, the adoption of the pink ball is far from a popular suggestion.
I think changing the ball during play is really problematic,’ Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley told SEN on Thursday.
‘I think that introduces a little too much diversity to the game. When you pick up the new ball, the state of the ball is an important part of the nuance of Test cricket.
‘Call for a pink ball, I don’t see that getting too much traction.’
Steve Waugh blasted the ICC after a disappointing day of Test cricket in Sydney on Wednesday
The former Australian captain lamented the ridiculous situation where the players returned to the field for just four overs after a delay of more than two hours.
Marnus Labuschagne struck a similar tone when asked if replacing the red ball with a pink one was a practical solution if circumstances required.
‘I’m really not hopeful, because the balls are just different,’ said the Aussie batter, who was dismissed on what proved to be the last ball of Day One.
Bad light forced Australia and South Africa off the field for two-and-a-half hours at the SCG on Wednesday, with the players returning for just four overs before being reinstated.
Steve Waugh slammed the ridiculous situation, saying the decision not to turn on the lights at the SCG lacked common sense.
Bad lighting caused a two-and-a-half-hour delay, but officials kept the lights on
‘Test cricket needs to realize that there is a lot of competition out there and not using lights when the players are dead for bad lighting doesn’t add up,’ the former Australian captain wrote on Instagram.
‘There are many unhappy spectators who cannot understand the rationale and excuse for not playing.’
The weather for the New Year’s Day Test in Sydney is notoriously unpredictable.
According to ABC Sport analyst Ric Finlay, 25 days of Test cricket have been washed out of the 110 Tests at the SCG, compared to up to nine days to 115 at the MCG.