Former English skipper Ian Botham has hit out at the England and Wales Cricket Board for their plans to hold the first day/night Test in Britain next year. He said that Test cricket will lose its aura if the move was implemented and went so far as to call the plan “ridiculous”.
The ECB last month announced that they will host West Indies for the first ever day/night Test on English soil at the Birmingham venue in August next year. In the process, they will become the third nation to stage a five-day Test under lights. Earlier, Australia hosted New Zealand for the first ever day/night clash at Adelaide and Pakistan hosted West Indies in UAE in October.
But known for his traditional approach to the game, English great Botham said, "It's ridiculous. I think it's appalling.”
"Test cricket is the flagship. You cannot play day/night Test cricket in England because the difference between bowling in the day time, and bowling in the evening, it's unfair," added the former English all-rounder.
Botham had produced one of the most celebrated displays of his career at Edgbaston, the venue which will host the Test, when taking five wickets for just one run to seal a stunning win over Australia during the 1981 Ashes.
Test matches in England are pretty well attended compared to other countries. In that light, Botham felt that there was no point in introducing Day-night Tests there.
"I am amazed we are going ahead with it," said Botham, a former England captain. "We do well (with crowds) in Tests in England. The first three days are certainly usually sold out. They are going to do it, so we will all sit back and watch."
Despite not being welcome to new innovations in cricket, Botham supported the implementation of the DRS system in Test matches.
"It (DRS) is not going to go away." said Botham. "It's very difficult for umpires on those surfaces. There's been a lot turned over, but it's very difficult when you start on turning wickets and there's uneven bounce. One thing it does do is that it gets rid of the howlers. No umpire deliberately gets it wrong."