Waqar Younis . (AP Photo)
SOUTHAMPTON: Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis said he wanted to see teams “staying out there a bit longer” after bad light blighted the second Test against England at Southampton.
Monday saw a match where a draw had long appeared an inevitable end with England still in their first innings at 110-4 as they replied to Pakistan’s 236.
Only 134.3 overs were bowled in total, with the whole of Saturday’s third day washed out.
But while there is an understanding rain can delay play, many pundits were scathing about the repeated stoppages for bad light at a ground where the floodlights were in use.
While some observers suggested a pink ball, as happens in day/night Tests, could be used to aid greater visibility, fast-bowling great Waqar suggested greater flexibilty from the match officials was the best way of maximising playing time.
“I feel unless light gets really bad, we can stay out there a bit longer,” said Waqar.
“But I’m generally in favour of changing as little in Test cricket as possible,” he added after a result that left Pakistan still 1-0 down in a three-match series ahead of the third Test, also at Southampton, starting Friday.
“It’s the oldest and most traditional format. What we need to be careful of is which kind of cricket ball is used.”
Waqar added: “I don’t yet know how a Dukes pink ball is going to behave in this country. If conditions are overcast and the lights are on, maybe it’ll do too much. It can work, but we’d need further trials in England.”
Meanwhile England captain Joe Root, although sympathetic to the position on-field umpires Richard Kettleborough and Michael Gough found themselves in at the Ageas Bowl, said changes must be made “somewhere, somehow” to help prevent future Tests being so disrupted by bad light.
“I think it’s hard to blame the umpires here,” said Root, with the officials in the firing line after calling off play on Sunday shortly before 1500 GMT.
“There’s something bigger that needs looking at higher up the chain,” he added. “I think it needs to be addressed somewhere, somehow.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game be affected by bad light as much as this. I’m not exactly sure what the answers are to be honest.
“But until those things change from the ICC (International Cricket Council), the umpires have to follow the rules in front of them and as players we have to do as we are told.”
Root insisted his side “don’t want to be sat watching, we want to be involved in exciting Test cricket and make an impact on the world stage”.
But he added: “If you’re facing someone really quick it can feel a bit more dangerous — in the field, square of the wicket is where you feel most vulnerable.
“Similarly the umpires might feel in danger if someone crunches a pull shot or hits one straight back at them.
“They’ve also got to be able to see and make the right decisions on the field.”