Whites out, colours in for Test cricket

Published: Monday, March 30, 2009, 11:50 [IST]
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 Soon Test cricket in coloured clothing

London: Cricket players could soon be appearing in Test matches in coloured clothing.

According to The Telegraph, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is pushing ahead with plans to allow players to wear non-white ''pyjama'' kits in the inaugural floodlit Test against Bangladesh at Lord's next year.

The move has infuriated traditionalists, but has come about because traditional red balls cannot be seen against a night sky, while trials with other coloured balls such as pink or orange have proved unsuccessful. If a white ball is to be used, the cricketers'' clothing must be some other colour.

Critics of the plan point out that the test will take place at Lord''s, the home of cricket, where "whites" for Test matches are seen as sacrosanct.

Dickie Bird, the retired umpire, said last night: "I am one of the old school and I am all for the game being played in white. It is best to play at Test match in white and during the day."

Peter Baxter, the ex-producer of Test Match Special, warned that many of the game''s most passionate supporters would be upset.

Baxter, who produced Test Match Special for 34 years added: "I think floodlit cricket will only ever be partly successful in this country because we simply do not have enough suitable evenings."

Sir Michael Parkinson, the broadcaster, who once had trials for Yorkshire, said: "I think the England cricket team have more to worry about than coloured clothing."

The Sunday Telegraph understands that there have already been in-depth discussions on the subject at two recent ECB committee meetings.

John Stephenson, the head of cricket for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), has been asked to move the initiative forward.

The floodlit match, the first of two Tests against Bangladesh, will be played in late May next year.

Play is likely to start at 2.30pm and finish at 9.30pm, which would allow spectators to attend after work.

Organisers hope the day-night matches will go some way to boost attendances, which they expect will be hit by the economic downturn and by the lowly status of Bangladesh in world cricket.

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