'We have to embrace day-night Tests'
Chris Rogers says while 'uncertainty' over pink ball concept remains amongst some players, they accept it is the future
Andrew Ramsey Canterbury
24 June 2015, 05:59 PM AEST
Chris Rogers, the veteran Australia opener whose colour blindness will preclude him from being considered for the historic day-night Test planned for later this year, says his current Test teammates remain "uncertain" about the pink ball concept.
While the final details of the coming Australia summer schedule are yet to be confirmed, it is expected that the first-ever day-night Test will be staged during New Zealand's tour in November with the Adelaide Oval firming as the likely venue.
Rogers, who has indicated that the current Ashes tour of England will be his Test swansong, had already ruled himself out of taking part in matches where the pink ball (which will replace the traditional red ball for Tests played under lights) was used because he was unable to see it.
The 37-year-old chose to absent himself from Victoria's Sheffield Shield team when a round of day-night matches utilising the pink ball was held at the end of last year, a move that Cricket Australia confirmed would not hinder Rogers' subsequent Test selection claims.
Video: Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland speaking about last season’s pink ball trial in the Bupa Sheffield Shield
Fellow Ashes squad members Fawad Ahmed, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh all faced the pink ball in the 2014-15 Bupa Sheffield Shield season, while Mitch Marsh and Josh Hazlewood were part of the initial trial in the 2013-14 season.
But asked in the UK today as to the feeling within the current Australia team on the prospect of taking part in the historic day-night Test later in the year, Rogers cited the lack of exposure of many international players to the pink ball as a potential issue.
"There's still a little bit of uncertainty I think," said Rogers.
"A lot of guys still haven't had a lot of experience with it – I don't think (Test captain) Michael Clarke has actually played in a pink ball game so I would say that uncertainty is probably the biggest word.
"But we all know that this is the way of the future so you have to embrace it, that's a given.
"If it works that would be fantastic but we'll have to see how it pans out."
Even though he sat out the most recent round of Shield matches played under day-night Test conditions and has not faced the pink balls at training, Rogers does have experience in the format that won the support of the ICC's influential Cricket Committee earlier this year.
The option of staging Test matches later in the day is thought to boost the potential for attendances at matches played during non-holiday seasons as well as additional television exposure into peak evening viewing markets.
England's Marylebone Cricket Club, custodian of the game's laws and a pioneer of day-night first-class cricket, has been staging an annual fixture for the past six years in the UAE at the start of English summer that features an MCC XI taking on the previous year's county champion.
Rogers was involved in one such match as captain of the MCC team against Nottinghamshire in 2011 and was dismissed for one and 18.
He has not been involved in playing or training against the pink ball since that game, and claims the disadvantage it poses for players who suffer from vision impairments such as colour blindness meant it represented an additional challenge for a number of cricketers.
"I think they (authorities) understand it a bit more now, particularly towards colour blind people but it's still going to be very difficult for people like myself with vision difficulties," Rogers said.
"So I don't think it's ideal. But if it's the way of the future then you have to embrace it."
Test cricket under lights would be a world-first event // Getty Images
Rogers is not the only player to have expressed uncertainty over the concept, with the New Zealand Players Association revealing earlier this year that 17 of the country's 20 centrally contracted cricketers were opposed when surveyed.
They cited their lack of experience with the pink ball and the challenges of adapting to first-class playing conditions under lights as well as the notion that day-night Tests were viewed as a "gimmicky" concept.
Trent Boult, the Blackcaps' leading wicket taker in the recent ICC World Cup, became the latest NZ player to voice his concerns about using the pink ball when interviewed on radio station Newstalk ZB this week.
"You're not sure if it swings or if it seams," said Boult, the world's number three-ranked Test bowler.
"I can't really see a pink ball shining up too well, as well.
"There are just too many unknowns from my point of view.
"And to go straight into a Test match, you're going into a totally different game pretty misunderstood and pretty fresh.
"I'm not really too sure about it to be honest."