ICC runs with the ball on expanding floodlit fixtures

Floodlit test cricket came a step closer to reality yesterday. Or, at least, half a step, after the International Cricket Council's cricket committee agreed the organisation should be more prominent in promoting it.

The biggest hurdle to playing Tests at night is the colour of the ball (the white ball used in limited overs matches simply would not work) and so far most of the research has been done by MCC. Its pink ball has received decidedly mixed responses with the conclusion that it, too, would not be appropriate for Tests.

After the cricket committee, chaired by the former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, met in London it was announced that the ICC would be more proactive in developing a ball and will soon have talks with manufacturers. To show they mean business, there will also be talks about the colour of the kit and starting times.

But the only other nod towards the salvation of Test cricket, which is suffering from low live audiences everywhere in the world except England, is a possible play-off every four years.

The Decision Review System is not only to be extended to all Test series (assuming India, who have steadfastly refused to implement it, agree) but to one-day internationals. It is intended that it be used in the World Cup in India next year, which should ensure that a tournament lasting 50 days seems even longer.

One-day cricket itself will be the subject of an overhaul after the World Cup and a league system may well be introduced, as well as other amendments. There is a move towards expanding the number of teams in the World Twenty20, the third version of which has just been a huge success in the Caribbean. This indicates that the ICC is intent in following its usual path in promoting cricket tournaments to the public by leaving them wanting less.

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