Warwickshire sport director Ashley Giles expects teams to put a lot of thought into how they approach the inaugural day/night Specsavers County Championship matches starting tomorrow.
The Bears face Lancashire at Edgbaston (2pm start) as part of a round of championship day/nighters organised to help players get used to playing with a pink ball under lights – conditions likely to become more common in Test cricket in the coming years.
It’s hugely important that we embrace change and especially with England playing at least three Tests under lights in the near futureAshley Giles
Giles will hope the change of start-time brings a change of fortune to the beleaguered Bears who prop up the championship Division One after four defeats, all by an innings, in six matches.
The sport director’s thoughts are focused entirely on making that happen. But he does believes that, in the broader picture, the experiment will prove a valuable one for cricket in this country.
“It’s hugely important that we embrace change and especially with England playing at least three Tests under lights in the near future,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how teams play it – whether they try to score more quickly, when they get the spinners on and whether they bring the seamers back on for the dusk period.
“The cut-off point is 9pm so it will not be totally dark even then and, whatever the conditions overhead, it will come down to the same batting and bowling skills as ever. But I am sure that as we play more championship cricket under lights in the coming seasons more subtleties will come into play and strategies will evolve as they have in T20.
I am sure that as we play more championship cricket under lights in the coming seasonsAshley Giles
“We have practiced with the pink balls. All the guys have played under lights before, of course, but not all have played with a pink ball so it’s important that they get as accustomed to it as possible.”
The overriding concern of Warwickshire supporters is that their team’s form improves. The Bears’ appeared to be on the way up after encouraging draws at home to Surrey and away to Somerset but have regressed again with innings defeats at Hampshire and Essex.
“It is an important round of games for all the teams who are playing – and a very important match for us,” Giles said. “Lancashire are my old boys but I am just thinking about us because we have got to start winning some games. We need to play some determined cricket and win some games before this season has completely got away from us.”
Lancashire have England fast-bowler Jimmy Anderson available. Chris Woakes would have been available to the Bears but is still recovering from a side strain.