The upcoming first-ever day-night Test match in Adelaide is essential for the game’s survival even if some fans won’t like the concept says former Aussie cricket captain Steve Waugh.
Speaking at the launch of his “Captain’s Ride” charity bike ride, Waugh told B&T that the day-night concept wasn’t merely to appease advertisers and broadcaster Channel Nine but was the ‘shot in the arm’ that Test cricket needed. The comments follow on from speculation that the players themselves are lukewarm on the idea.
The Adelaide Test between Australia and New Zealand starts on November 27th.
“The players will love it when they play it,” Waugh said of the concept. “People are always sceptical about change, ‘How’s it going to work? How will this affect me?’ I think it’s too easy to join the chorus that it’s going to be no good.
“I think Test cricket at night will be great and the big picture is that Test cricket is dying in a lot of other countries. If we don’t do something to rejuvenate it then we may not have Test cricket. Sure, it’s still strong in Australia and England but other countries aren’t watching it. You can’t just sit back and watch it die and not do anything about it, and it’s great that Australia has taken a lead with this,” Waugh argued.
Waugh agreed that the big dollars broadcasters were paying to secure the rights to live sports was affecting the sports themselves but he didn’t believe that day-night concept was introduced to increase prime time audiences and placate advertisers.
“The players and the game’s administrators can’t expect the (broadcast) money to roll in and not also work with the sponsors and the networks. But having said that it has to be mutually beneficial and without this money the game itself will suffer,” he said.
Waugh agreed that more ads in and around sport was “a modern day commercial reality” and he agreed that it could be off-putting for some fans. However, he added that sports that didn’t make themselves attractive to sponsors would lose the cash to sports who did.
Meanwhile, Waugh himself is setting off on his ‘Captain’s Ride’ charity cycle from Sydney to Byron Bay on November 1st in aid of kids with rare diseases.
Waugh has teamed with communications giant Havas to promote the ride that will feature other celebrities including Mick Doohan, John Maclean, pro-cycist Simon Gerrans, Dr Charlie Teo.
“The rare disease patient is the orphan of the health system, often without diagnosis, without treatment, without research and therefore without reason to hope. This is why the Steve Waugh Foundation exists. The Australian rare disease community is growing, with a leading number of medical and advocacy groups joining together to give those living with a rare disease a voice,” he said.