Sutherland confident of day-night Test against India next summer

James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, expects both India and Sri Lanka to agree to day-night Tests next summer, given that the Australian governing body has “telegraphed” its intent to play as many floodlit five-day matches as possible.
Starting with the inaugural pink-ball match against New Zealand in 2015-16 – for which players on both sides were encouraged to take part through the inducement of A$1 million in extra prize money for the Test – CA and Sutherland have been the game’s primary advocates for the concept.
In response to questions about the removal of ABC radio’s commentary from the earpieces sold and distributed at each venue in favour of Triple M, as reported by ESPNcricinfo, Sutherland said he would ask for the device’s bandwidth to be expanded so that more than three channels were available to fans.
“As I understand it, it comes down to basically the bandwidth on the earpiece where there’s up to four channels are available,” Sutherland said. “Two of them are dedicated to our television broadcasts, and we have three local radio networks that have the rights to broadcast the matches. We’re sharing it around, the ABC has been on the earpiece for the last three or four years maybe and we’re sharing it around so others are taking their turn.
“The question I’m asking is why we have this limited bandwidth and how do we expand that. I’ll take that up and we’ll try to see what we can do about that. Ideally people have a quantum of choice and not a limited choice. I’ll certainly make enquiries in the short term. My understanding is the bandwidth of these earpieces is limited at this stage to the four channels they have, but I’d like to think we can do something about that in the future.”
However, India are yet to take part in a day-night Test, with the BCCI showing notable reticence about doing so. Apart from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, England and Sri Lanka have all played in at least one day-night Test. Over 16 years as CA’s chief executive, Sutherland has seldom wanted to make any assumptions about BCCI decisions, but he expressed confidence that India would agree to play in a floodlit Test next summer, more than likely in Adelaide.
“I would anticipate there’s not going to be too much problem there,” Sutherland told ABC Radio. “As we’ve discussed at ICC level, it’s very much in the hands of the home country to make judgments on what they think is best. Certainly it’s pretty well telegraphed that from our perspective we’d be playing at least one day-night Test match every summer.
“Certainly India, we would expect to draw a bigger crowd [than Sri Lanka]. That will be the first four Tests of the summer. It’s not all about that, it’s also about how it fits, there’s considerations like weather in different parts of the country at different times of the year. They’re all the things we need to balance and make a call on over the course of the next few weeks before announcing that final schedule.”
Some regular visitors to the Adelaide Test have expressed disquiet about the idea that the South Australian capital will never again host a match played entirely in daylight hours. Nevertheless, Sutherland stated that CA’s vision was for both Adelaide and Brisbane to host pink-ball Tests as a matter of course in future, whether in December or the more traditional Adelaide slot around the Australia Day weekend in late January.
“Certainly we’ve always felt Adelaide is the natural venue for day-night Test cricket,” he said. “We played in Brisbane as well and I think that’s worked well, we didn’t do it this year for an Ashes but I think going forward we would see at least Brisbane and Adelaide as being day-night Test venues.
“I know [Australia Day] is a very traditional timeline for Adelaide and the South Australian Cricket Association and this stadium, but at the same time they’re also becoming increasingly attracted to this day-night Test match at this time of year. We’ll obviously talk that through with them and with others who have an interest in hosting an Indian Test and a Sri Lankan Test and make a conclusion on that in the coming weeks.”