Let's all take a moment to rejoice in New Zealand Cricket doing their utmost best to 'save' Test cricket now that we're officially going to get our first day/night Test.
The best thing about all of this is that the second session of each day will start at 4:20pm. Yeah, so that means you can take a 4:20 cone just as the first ball of that session is being bowled. Churs all round.
Day/night Tests are cool and should be a feature of every summer that can legit go down that route. Heck, I'm all for a Test - or multiple Tests - being of the day/night variety. I have absolutely nothing against day/night Test cricket and view it as a staple of Test cricket moving forward.
What concerns me now and has concerned me this whole time is the narrative being rolled out by NZC and the route they are going down.
While the rest of the cricketing world are maintaining a vibrant, plentiful Test schedule, NZC are doing the exact opposite.
While the rest of the cricketing world is steadily moving towards placing a greater emphasis on franchise T20 cricket over international T20 cricket, NZC are doing the opposite.
While the rest of the cricketing world pumps up their franchise T20 tournaments with their nation's best cricketers (and the world's best), NZC are doing the opposite; see Mitchell McClenghan's recent decision.
NZC are making very weird moves, zigging when everyone else zags, then they place a certain 'spin' on their zags to make it seem as though they are the smartest jokers in world cricket. When the day/night Test against England at Eden Park was confirmed, Anthony Crummy was quoted by various mainstream media/NZC PR departments;
"This is a very important outcome for Test cricket lovers in New Zealand simply because it allows us the opportunity to play the game at a time when more people can engage with it".
That makes me feel crummy.
Only scheduling four Tests in a summer - equal to or less than various Test series around the world - does the exact opposite. An important outcome for Test cricket lovers is, well, ya know, TEST CRICKET. Test cricket lovers want Test series with more than two Tests, Test cricket lovers want an extra Test instead of a meaningless international T20 cash-grab, Test cricket lovers want Kane Williamson to score as many Test runs as possible to compete with Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Joe Root who ... play more Test series with more Tests than Williamson will play this summer.
Test cricket lovers want Test cricket. Don't take that away from them and then toot your own horn for helping Test cricket.
Any way, Test cricket doesn't need help other than giving Tests super-funky context via a Test championship.
Every summer I see all those Test cricket lovers get out and have a jolly ol' time at Aotearoa's beautiful Test cricket venues, sans Eden Park. All those Test cricket lovers pay their hard-earned cash for over-priced tickets and expensive/shitty food. Kiwi Test cricket lovers love Test cricket so much, they don't mind everything being over-priced by NZC's money hungry greed.
They show up because they love Test cricket.
Then Mr Crummy dropped this gem:
"NZC has a particular focus on improving access to cricket for everyone".
I don't believe NZC has shown any focus on improving access to cricket for everyone.
How can poor families afford a day at the cricket? These poor families could be pockets in society who have no interest in cricket because they are priced out of attending games and participating in cricket. NZC could give out free tickets to South Auckland school kids, now that would improve access to cricket for everyone by simply opening the door to cricket that NZC keeps shut.
When students down in Dunedin decide to have some fun at Test cricket, they are shut down by the fun-police. Meanwhile, in other countries they are making beer-snakes, dressing up in costumes and singing songs.
Maybe some folk would be more willing to take a day off work, sacrificing the money they would otherwise earn, if they didn't need to spend so much on tickets, food, drink and all the peripheral stuff. Make cricket accessible by encouraging people, instead of pushing them away via your greed.
Another headline on this matter read:
"Kiwi Test cricket fans have received some good news today".
Good news? Like, it's alright news. More Test cricket and a day/night Test (or multiple), would be good news.
Then I absorbed a 'revolutionary' sort of vibe from these news outlets, reporting how NZC was at the forefront of this awesome movement. Day/night Tests could have been rolled out much earlier around the world for starters and then, then the nations that pushed day/night Tests to the fore - Australia and England, Dubai's also hosted a Pakistan Test - have cricket schedules full to the brim with Test cricket.
England have played four Test against South Africa and are now playing three Tests against West Indies. In NZC's warped world, playing so many Tests is revolutionary and from that foundation England are wise to get knee-deep in day/night Tests.
As I've alluded to a few times, the weirdest aspect of all of this scheduling stuff is how NZC are shooting themselves in the foot. They want the Super Smash to be awesome, yet make it rather difficult for our nation's best limited overs cricket to play in the Super Smash, let alone the world's best; NZC hype up the Super Smash and then restrict the quality of that product.
While the rest of cricket embraces Test cricket and adjusts to the changing landscape, NZC are pushing Test cricket aside. The most powerful cricket nations still play a lot of Test cricket and they embrace the new audience that T20 cricket offers. NZC appear to be too cool for that, too cool for what's logical for everyone else.
Perhaps worse of all is that NZC are telling y'all that Test cricket is struggling.
A) I see many people having fun at Test cricket in Aotearoa, when I write about the Blackcaps Test antics we get more views than anything else and around the world people still consume Test cricket - check Twitter during a Test.
B) Test cricket could be perceived as struggling in Aotearoa, thanks to decisions NZC have made. NZC have made Test cricket less attractive via their pricing and general fun-police antics, we all love it so much we just endure that crap.
This is where any minor negative vibe about the day/night Test comes in. NZC hail themselves as being innovative etc, yet they haven't actually done much to improve the regular Test cricket experience. In essence, they have just skipped those steps and gone straight to a day/night experience.
Where is the innovation, revolutionary mindset when analyzing why you believe Test cricket isn't an attractive product?
Trust NZC to make the best decisions for kiwi cricket? That's difficult when NZC aren't even making the right decisions within their 'too cool' parameters.
We're gonna have a day/night Test folks. It might not be as fun as this though:
Peace and love 27.
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