‘Absolute dog breakfast of a sport’: Jimmy Neesham, Scott Styris say Test cricket in trouble

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New Zealand cricketers Jimmy Neesham and Scott Styris were absolutely critical of the way Test cricket is being affected by bad weather and fading light after Pakistan’s two-match series against New Zealand ended in a 0-0 draw after the umpires took the players off three overs early on the final day of the second Test.

Cricket authorities are under growing pressure to find a solution to maximise play in fading light, after players were taken from the field in Test matches in both Sydney and Karachi.

Pakistan were nine wickets down, just 15 runs shy of their target of 319, with their numbers 10 and 11 surviving 21 balls at the crease. The final five overs of the match had all been bowled by spinners, with all New Zealand’s fielders round the bat.

“Both teams had a chance of winning and we come off the field with 3 overs to go. Exhibit A of why Test cricket is in trouble,” Styris tweeted.

Neesham replied to Styris’s tweet, saying, “You sit through 4 days of rubbish to set up a genuinely enthralling finish then this shit happens. What an absolute dog’s breakfast of a sport.”

In Sydney, the first three days of Australia’s Test against South Africa were affected by poor weather and bad light.

Consistent rain swept through the Sydney area from early Friday morning and the gaps in the rainfall where not sufficient for ground staff to prepare the field and the match to resume. Shortly after the scheduled tea break, umpires abandoned the day’s play.

Steve Waugh, the former Australia captain, had been critical of the lack of play on the opening day of the Test match.

“Test cricket needs to realise there is a lot of competition out there and not using the lights when the players are off for bad light simply doesn’t add up,” he posted on social media on Wednesday.

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Mark Waugh too felt that light was sufficient for the match to be continued. “I’d like to change the rules. I’m saying once the lights are on we stay on, simple as that,” Waugh said on Fox Cricket.

Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Todd Greenberg on Friday revealed that Australia’s players are eager to develop a ball that will allow Test cricket to continue during fading light. Greenberg said will talk to Cricket Australia about the possibility of a joint venture.
Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed plays a reverse sweep shot during the fifth day of the second test cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand, in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

“I want to talk to them about it and say what else can we do?” Greenberg told the Herald and The Age at the SCG on Friday.

“Who can we partner with? How do we work this out? Because what I’m learning quickly is the ICC aren’t doing these things. There’s no-one in cricket doing this stuff, so there is a void.

“And in the absence of someone else doing it, I’m going to call it and say, well, we should do it. Let’s do it.


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