20 July 2007

How dangerous is bad light?

Well quite reasonably we don't play cricket in the dark and the Laws of Cricket instruct umpires to suspend play when there is 'an obvious or foreseeable danger to any player or umpire' and that's fair enough.

But batsmen's protection is now so good that it would need to be pretty dark before they were in any serious danger and one wonders whether this improvement in protection is taken into account. Play at Lord's was suspended yesterday twice when certainly they'd have played Twenty 20 or we'd have played club cricket so are these forms of cricket intrinsically less dangerous than Test cricket? Cynically you might also wonder whether they'd have played if a certain number of overs were needed to be played in order to prevent refunds having to be paid to spectators.

Graham Thorpe had the interesting comment when he saw England home in the gloom not that long ago. ' Have you ever played cricket in such dark conditions before ?' he was asked. 'of course I have, I've played club cricket'.

So they've gone off for bad light , the umpires have had another look and reckon it's improved and what do they do? 'We'll restart in ten minutes' - why not immediately if the covers are not over the pitch?

Just an aside - the ball before the umpires took the players off for the first time Kevin Pietersen wafted and missed at a short one - brilliant!

1 comment:

Ed said...

I agree that protective equipment has improved a lot and this should be taken into account.

The main thing that I think is being overlooked is the fact that all sports matches are entertainment. If they don't offer entertainment, they will suffer from reduced audiences over time, even if not immediately. And as you rightly say, poor light is very rearely even considered during Twenty20.

How about this proposal:

Players are always quite happy to bat in poor light when they have a chance to win, so why early in the match or when they may lose should they be allowed to walk off? If we use the darkest that play has continued in (specific to that country) in a test match as our guide for when players should come off, there would be a lot more play.

One last thought, the media don't help with their reporting that england lost a couple of wickets due to bad light last night - Vaughan may have been affected by the constant stop start, but not the light. And Collingwood was vulnerable as a new batsman like all of them are - nothing to do with the light.