London: Stuart Broad is looking forward to seeing England step into the unknown when the first day/night Test to be staged in cricket’s birthplace starts later this week.
The landmark fixture will get underway at Birmingham’s Edgbaston on Thursday when England face the West Indies in the first of a three-match series.
There have already been four day/night Test elsewhere in the world, three in Australia and one in Dubai where the West Indies were defeated by Pakistan.
Now England must confront the challenges that come with using the pink ball — required as it is more visible under lights while the white ball familiar from one-day cricket clashes with the players’ traditional white Test match clothing — as well as the difficulties of batting in an awkward twilight period.
As happened in Australia, that could even lead to some unusual declarations and England fast bowler Broad, whose pink ball experience extends to one promotional delivery said Monday: “It’s stepping into the unknown completely. I’ve bowled one ball with the pink ball – I got it relatively straight.
“We’re training this (Monday) evening under lights which will be a good session,” the Nottinghamshire paceman added at an event staged by series sponsors Investec.
“I just don’t know what to expect. We are just going to have to be so adaptable on the day and figure out what’s going on.
“The Adelaide Test matches, I really enjoyed watching — the couple that had the day/night games. I think it’s quite an exciting concept.
“Their twilight period comes a bit earlier. South Africa actually declared in that twilight period whereas if we did that, it would be quite late in the day.
“The exciting thing as a player is that we are going in with a completely clear mind, learning on the job almost,” said Broad.
West Indies have arrived in England without senior players such as Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy — a legacy of a bitter dispute with West Indies officials and the fact that the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 tournament is going on at home at the same time as the Test series.
The West Indies have lost their last six Test series and their away record, excluding matches against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, is especially desperate with just three wins in 86 matches since 1997.
Broad, however, insisted: “We’ve got a huge amount of respect for the way the West Indies play and the competitive spirit they bring.
“And with a slightly inexperienced team, you know they are going to be very hungry for success.
“The West Indies as they are on this England tour are going to be hugely keen to prove themselves. That’s something that we will have to be aware of.
“We know that every ball in the Test matches will be hugely competitive and we need to be switched on to that,” Broad added.