Proper light conditions critical for cricketer's safety

If the umpires feel the prevailing light is not bright enough for play, play is called off to protect the players from injuries © Getty Images

Test cricket is a five-day long format played for approximately seven hours play on each playing day. Unlike most limited-overs cricket (One-Day International or Twenty20), Test cricket is played under the sun.

 

As a day’s play comes to an end, natural light fades. Umpires in an international game use a special device known as ‘light meter’ to gauge the condition of the light. If the umpires feel the prevailing light is not bright enough for play, play is called off to protect the players from injuries. A batsman will find it tough to face a fast, rising delivery under poor light conditions which could cause physically harm and/or cause his dismissal.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has formulated laws keeping in mind the safety of players, especially the two batsmen of the batting side. While the prime responsibility of the on-field umpire is to ensure that the show must go on for the cricket-loving public, the protection of the cricketers must not be compromised.

 

Under unplayable circumstances, the umpires will have to make a decision subjected to the (ICC) rules and regulations as stated below:

 

a) In case of both the umpires agree that the playing condition is not suitable for play, they will inform the captains and, unless

 

(i)    Both the captains agree to continue, or to restart play, or

 

(ii) The batting side wishes to continue, or to restart play,

 

they shall suspend play, or not allow play to commence or to restart.

 

b) Despite accepting to play in unplayable conditions, if either of the captains appeal against the conditions to the umpires before the next call. The umpires shall uphold the appeal only if, in their opinion, the factors taken into account when making their previous decision are the same or the conditions have further deteriorated.

 

c) Despite accepting to play in unplayable conditions, if the batting captain appeals against the light to the umpires before the next call of Time. The umpires shall uphold the appeal only if, in their opinion, the factors taken into account when making their previous decision are the same or the condition of the light has further deteriorated.

 

d) During the course of play, if at any time the umpires mutually agree that the conditions of ground, weather or light are very poor and that there is obvious and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire, so that it would be unreasonable or dangerous for play to take place, then notwithstanding the provisions of (a) (i) and (a) (ii) above, they shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to commence or to restart. The decision as to whether conditions are so bad as to warrant such action is one for the umpires alone to make.

 

e) It is the sole responsibility of the umpires to monitor the conditions in case the play is suspended. They shall make inspections as often as appropriate, unaccompanied by any of the players or officials. Immediately the umpires together agree that conditions are suitable for play they shall call upon the players to resume the game.