The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) World Cricket Committee believes that the time is right to introduce day/night Test cricket and that this will serve as a necessary boost to the longest form of the international game.
"Three years of intensive research culminated in a trial of the pink ball at the MCC v Champion County match in Abu Dhabi in late March. This match proved one thing about playing first-class day / night cricket with a pink ball – it works. Cricket authorities should not delay its introduction any further," a statement from the independent committee read.
"MCC believes that Test match cricketers – even when playing under floodlights – should always wear white clothing, to maintain the game’s best traditions and to ensure Test cricket remains distinct from the ODI and T20 formats."
Furthermore, the committee fears for the future of Test cricket and continue to lobby hard for the introduction of a World Test Championship, something which was discussed and will be further explored by the International Cricket Council after their board meeting in Singapore.
"The MCC World Cricket Committee fears for the future of Test match cricket and has called for the ICC and its Full Member Countries to better promote the longest and purest form of the game.
"Twelve months after stating the need for a World Test Championship and seven months since presenting a blueprint for such a competition to the ICC, the Committee feels that...necessary action should be taken immediately to re-invigorate Test cricket.
"MCC’s research from India, New Zealand and South Africa, published in November 2009, showed that the cricketing public in these countries wanted to watch day/night Test cricket and were strongly in favour of a World Test Championship. Fairer pitches, such as the ones England recently encountered in South Africa – which offered bounce and some assistance to the bowlers – rather than in Bangladesh – which were low, slow and batsmen-friendly - would also help to improve the game as a spectacle.
"With T20 riches on offer, the Committee feel that national governing bodies should do all that they can to retain their best talent and ensure Test cricket is a financially rewarding career. There are freelance cricketers who see a profitable career in playing shorter forms of the game only; the Committee wants to guard against an increase in their number."
The committee, chaired by Tony Lewis and including former umpire Steve Bucknor for the first time, maintains that a mandatory ball change after 34 overs of a One-Day International is no longer required.
"Since 2007, MCC has been working with scientists and manufacturers to develop durable, coloured cricket balls. Following a number of presentations at the meeting, the MCC World Cricket Committee unanimously believes that these balls are now ready to use and should be incorporated into domestic and international cricket around the world.
"Manufacturers have made significant progress in recent months in deep-dying the leather which creates a ball which will not discolour. A pink ball could effectively be used in 50 over cricket tomorrow without the mandatory ball change after 34 overs – and thus bring back the skill of reverse swing bowling at the end of an ODI innings.
"The Committee also understands that a new white ball has just been produced that will last the full 50 overs, although this requires a trial as soon as practicable. Immediate trials with coloured balls in first-class cricket will, the Committee feels, prove beyond doubt that they are viable for use in Test matches as well."
The committee, after hearing from England coach Andy Flower, recommends that the MCC Committee undertakes a fact-finding tour of Zimbabwe ahead of a potential tour in 2011.
Former Indian Rahul Dravid captain presented his thoughts having been involved in three years of Indian Premier League cricket and the committee revealed:
"The Indian batsman described how the IPL franchises have learned to maximise their brand, reach new markets and become profitable ventures. He also talked about how the IPL has changed the training and coaching methods of players, with an IPL contract being seen as a crucial target for aspiring Indian cricketers. He was concerned, however, that parents of talented children were asking coaches to teach them T20-specific skills only, such are the rewards of an IPL contract.
"Dravid felt that, while the occasional player has emerged as a T20 specialist, the best performing IPL cricketers are those with the skills to play all forms of the game and who can adapt to all match situations.
"The Committee believes the IPL to have been a great success and something that has captured the public’s imagination. However, it is also concerned about the proliferation of fixtures both in the IPL and in other domestic T20 tournaments and warns against the danger of overkill at the expense of longer forms of the game."
The World Cricket Committee includes a number of former and current international cricketers, officials and administrators.
© Cricket World 2010