England’s Test captain, Joe Root, believes the issue of bad light “needs to be addressed” so the game can avoid the farcical scenes witnessed at the Ageas Bowl in recent days.
Only 134.3 overs were possible in the second Test – 38.1 of them on the final day – as a combination of bad light and conditions deemed too wet to play conspired to ruin any chance of either England or Pakistan pushing for victory. Only eight Tests in England or Wales in which any play has been possible have been worse hit by such conditions; all but one were not five-day encounters.
That left Root calling for a variety of “different things that could be trialled” to avoid such examples in the future. Among the measures Root suggested was earlier start times, the use of a brighter ball and improved floodlights to ensure play could continue regardless of the light.
But he cautioned against expecting a change to start times ahead of the final Test of this series, which is scheduled to begin on the same ground on Friday, arguing that agreements had been made with Pakistan ahead of the series and it may be too late to change them.
“Maybe we could start half-an-hour earlier if we’ve lost time,” Root said. “You don’t necessarily have to start every game at 10.30am, but maybe if you need to make time up that is something to look at so light isn’t as much of an issue. It’s something to look at. It may be a possibility.
“There an MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] that’s been put in place [ahead of this series], so I’m not sure how flexible things are to change. But moving forwards, it is something that could potentially be looked at beyond this series.
“Maybe there’s got to be a minimum standard of floodlights and [we should] play on throughout. Maybe we could use a lighter red ball rather than a dark Dukes ball.
“There are different things that could be trialled to avoid similar scenarios in future. It’s not very often you lose so much cricket to bad light, but it’s frustrating and a huge talking point. I think it needs to be addressed somewhere, somehow.”
At present, every day of Test cricket in England starts at 11am regardless of the amount of overs lost in the game. The ECB has, in the past, argued that to change the start time at short notice – such as the evening before – could leave ticket holders missing the start of play. There have also been concerns expressed at the help an earlier start might provide to seamers able to exploit any dew or other moisture in the pitch or wider environment.
Many of Root’s concerns were echoed by the Pakistan bowling coach, Waqar Younis, who also called for more trials into measures that could mitigate against the problem of bad light.
“Worldwide the pink ball is only really being played with on a trial basis as we see if we run into problems,” Waqar said. “In day-night matches, there is strong evidence to suggest the pink ball could work, but in England, only one pink-ball Test has happened.
“I don’t yet know how a pink Dukes ball is going to behave in this country. If conditions are overcast and the lights are on, maybe it’ll do too much. The toss becomes very important.
“Purely for revenue and entertainment, it’s a promising idea, but everyone will need to adapt. We need to see more pink-ball use in domestic cricket in England to get the full picture. We need further trials in England.
“I feel unless the light gets really bad, we can stay out there a bit longer.”
Root, meanwhile, said he had sympathy both for the match officials and groundstaff and suggested it was an issue which needed to be addressed “higher up the chain”. ESPNcricinfo understands the ICC cricket committee will review issues around bad light at their next meeting.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game be affected by bad light as much as this,” Root said. “Which is very frustrating. But it’s been very wet throughout the week and the ground staff have done everything they can to get it dry.
“I do think it’s hard to blame the umpires here. I think there’s something bigger that needs looking up higher up the chain. This is way above my pay grade.”
Root also provided some insight into the challenges posed by playing in poor light, suggesting safety was only one of the aspects to consider.
“There’s an element of danger that comes into it,” he said. “Sometimes when you are facing someone really quick it can feel a little bit more dangerous.
“But sometimes with the bat in hand, if I’m brutally honest, it becomes more challenging [in poor light]. It can be quite hard trying to pick which way a bowler is looking to swing it or you might be trying to spot a googly from a legspinner. That can be frustrating at times.
“But it’s the field, square of the wicket, where you feel most vulnerable. You don’t want to be at fault, running in the wrong direction or missing a big chance. Similarly, the umpires might feel in danger as well if someone crunches a pull shot or hits one straight back at them. They have also got to be able to see and make the right decisions on the field.”
FIFA Club World Cup 2020 – News – Flick: World title would be icing on Bayern’s cake
Bayern Munich’s FIFA Club World Cup campaign begins on 8 February
German giants will meet Al Duhail or Al Ahly in the semi-finals
For coach Hansi Flick, winning in Qatar would cap a fantastic season
A win at the FIFA Club World Cup 2020™ would see Hans-Dieter Flick and Bayern Munich make history by becoming only the second team after Barcelona (in 2009) to win all six domestic and international titles up for grabs in one season. And yet despite the enormity of the occasion, the coach says that he does not feel under any particular pressure.
“It’s always the case at Bayern Munich that you want to have the most successful season possible,” said Flick, “and after the treble, you’re obviously looking at the FIFA Club World Cup. We’re quite simply motivated to win something else, so we’re all obviously really looking forward to the Club World Cup.”
The record German league winners will get their campaign under way on 8 February in the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Qatar. The draw that was made on Tuesday 19 January in Zurich pitted them against whoever comes through the quarter-final between last season’s league champions in the host nation Al Duhail SC (Qatar) and the CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly SC (Egypt).
That would probably be the icing on the cake, but it’s obviously going to be a challenge. Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that it’s a wonderful competition, so we’re looking forward to the whole event and hoping that we can have a successful tournament.
Flick has four players in his ranks who know what it takes to win the FIFA Club World Cup, with captain and current The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, FIFA World Cup™ winners Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng, and Austria’s David Alaba all part of the successful 2013 campaign for the club. Back then, Pep Guardiola was in charge when Bayern won the final in Morocco 2-0 courtesy of goals from Thiago and Dante. According to Flick, everyone had a positive experience of that victorious tournament.
“All of them, including Hermann Gerland, who was already on the coaching staff back then, said that it quite simply a wonderful event and that it’s fun to take part in it, pure and simple. And if we can have the same success that they did in 2013, then that will make it a whole lot of fun and a unique event, which is exactly the kind of experience we’re looking to have this year with the team.”
A Club World Cup brings together not merely the best teams in a particular continent, but the cream of club football from all around the world – something that the Bayern coach was quick to underline.
“I know what it’s like from working with the national team. At European Championships, or for us in the Champions League, you always play European teams. Coming up against South American, Asian or African sides is always a little bit different in terms of the mentality of your opponents. On the one hand, as I’ve just said, it’s the mindset and the way the players are set up, but you also come across the occasional new concept as regards the way you imagine and eventually play the game.
“From that point of view, I’m really looking forward to seeing and analysing what the tournament has to offer and maybe picking up some fresh ideas. This is why it’s always really special when you get a global perspective on something and get to play against the best teams in the world.”
As UEFA representatives, Bayern are automatically one of the tournament favourites. A look back at the roll of honour shows that clubs from the Old Continent have already enjoyed a great deal of success. The last time a non-European side came out on top was all the way back in 2012, when Corinthians from Brazil defeated Chelsea in Japan. Since then, Bayern (2013), Real Madrid (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) Barcelona (2015) and Liverpool (2019) have all taken home the title, and Bayern will be hoping to add to that list by winning the final, to be held on 11 February in Education City Stadium.
“We’re hoping and aiming to win the tournament, but as is always the case, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Flick. “First off, we want to – and we have to – win our semi-final. We’re obviously hopeful of making it to the final – it’s our goal but it’s also our duty to get that far. We’ll be doing everything we can to prepare in the best way possible to realise our ambitions. But first and foremost we have to do our jobs, and then we can see whether we’ve earned ourselves a reward.”
Ban vs WI, 1st ODI – Six West Indies players debut as Bangladesh opt to bowl in overcast conditions | Cricket
Bangladesh chose to field vs West Indies
Tamim Iqbal, standing as Bangladesh captain for the first time since his appointment nine months ago, chose to field against an inexperienced West Indies led by Jason Mohammed in the first ODI in Mirpur. Both teams are playing their first game of the World Cup Super League, the pathway tournament for the qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
There were debutants for both teams. Pacer Hasan Mahmud, who made his T20I debut last year, became the 134th Bangladesh ODI cricketer. For West Indies, six players – Akeal Hosein, Andre McCarthy, Chemar Holder, Joshua Da Silva, Kyle Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner – made their ODI debuts. The ODI also sees Shakib Al Hasan’s return after his ban for not reporting a corrupt approach elapsed.
At the toss, Iqbal said that the overcast conditions prompted him to bowl first. Mohammed didn’t mind batting first, saying the surface “looks like a good wicket”. He also said that the young players in the XI were looking forward to playing international cricket. As for his captaincy, Mohammed said he was “trying to stay as calm as possible”.
Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das, 3 Nazmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Soumya Sarkar, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Hasan Mahmud, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Rubel Hossain
West Indies XI 1 Sunil Ambris, 2 Joshua da Silva (wk), 3 Andre McCarthy, 4 Nkrumah Bonner, 5 Jason Mohammed (capt), 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Kyle Mayers, 8 Akeal Hosein, 9 Raymon Reifer, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Chemar Holder
FIFA Club World Cup 2020 – News – Draw lays out path to FIFA Club World Cup glory
Action to start on 4 February with Tigres against Ulsan
Al Duhail and Al Ahly will clash in the second match
The winners of the latter will play Bayern München in the semi-finals
Today’s Official Draw at the Home of FIFA in Zurich mapped out the road to global glory for the six clubs competing at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™.
Tigres UANL and Ulsan Hyundai FC will face each other in the first game scheduled for 4 February at 17:00 local time (15:00 CET) at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, while Al Duhail SC and Al Ahly SC will face off at 20:30 (18:30 CET) on the same day at Education City.
The Tigres-Ulsan winners will move on to play the Copa Libertadores champions – Palmeiras and Santos will contest the final on 30 January – in the semi-finals, while Al Duhail or Al Ahly will take on FC Bayern München.
The Qatar 2020 champions will be crowned following the final at Education City Stadium on 11 February, with kick-off at 21:00 (19:00 CET).