‘Seriously dangerous’: Bess questions umpires keeping players out in bad light
Speaking after play on the third day of the final England-Pakistan Test, Dom Bess explained that he felt conditions were “extremely dangerous” towards stumps due to the deteriorating light.
He suggested that there should be a “little bit more common sense in terms of players’ well-being” when it comes to halting play due to bad light.
Describing the conditions as “pretty dark”, Bess showed concern towards Pakistan’s tail-enders, who took on England’s quicks in their first innings, helped along by a couple of dropped catches by Rory Burns and Zak Crawley, one of which, Bess claims, he couldn’t spot from his fielding position.
“It’s no excuse, but it was really dark out there,” Bess said. “I was stood at square leg, and Azhar pulled one off Jofra [Archer] and I did not see it. In all seriousness, if that goes near someone or is hit straight at me, I genuinely don’t know what I’m going to be doing.”
Bad light has been a point of contention throughout the series; England skipper Joe Root felt that the issue “needs to be addressed”, after the second Test saw only 134.3 overs being bowled throughout the game, with umpires repeatedly walking the players off the field under overcast skies.
“I guess playing in those conditions we’ve got to be really switched on with it,” Bess said, “and actually we got to start thinking I think a little bit about the players’ well-being. You’ve got [Nos.]10 and 11 there having to face up to someone like Jofra as well in those conditions – it is seriously dangerous.”
“I think the light meter reading was 430 [lux]. The game before when we came off it was about 700. Obviously we all want to be playing cricket but I think as well there’s got to be a little bit more common sense in terms of players’ well-being.
“You take [Mohammad] Abbas, the No. 11 [No.10] – you don’t want to see them getting hit or anything like that, in terms of it being really dangerous.”
Following widespread debate after the second Test, revised timings came into effect for the third match, making way for the option of a 10.30am start if bad light had reduced playing time. On Sunday, when the umpires continued to keep the players on the field – Bess felt that, despite the criticism, “common sense” should prevail when taking a decision on bad light.
"The logic is grounded in decades-long overprotection of our mollycoddled cricketers and a game that is overly deferential to those who play it, often to the detriment of those who watch it."
Is switching to pink the answer to cricket's bad light problem?https://t.co/sttB7p8duR
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 19, 2020
“Obviously, we all want to be out there playing cricket,” Bess said, “but again there’s got to be a little bit more common sense in terms of when it is too dark. I think if you get the meter readings out there, as we walked back on then it was 430 so I think that paints the picture.
“We are trying to get cricket played but from just my perspective on players’ well-being, imagine if someone gets hit there and it is really serious. Say the No. 10 or 11 gets hit by Jofra because we are out there – what happens then?
“I guess it’s just calling out for a bit of common sense in terms of when it is too dark, we’ve got to go, and when it’s not, we try and play because everyone wants to be out there.”
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