England boss Chris Silverwood: Earlier start time makes a lot of sense to me

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England head coach Chris Silverwood would have no qualms about bringing in flexible start times for the series-deciding third Test against Pakistan, with hopes rising that an agreement can be reached.

The sheer volume of cricket that was lost in the drawn second Test – equivalent to about three and a half days in all – has accelerated a rethink around the rigid policy of beginning at 11am.

While several other possible solutions to extending the amount of play possible in games affected by bad light and rain – such as brighter balls, improved lighting and even specialist glasses – are not immediate solutions, the idea of bringing forward the first ball to cover for delays could be imminent.

England are keen to avoid more delays in the third Test against Pakistan.
England are keen to avoid more delays in the third Test against Pakistan (Glyn Kirk/PA)

Both teams would be willing, as would the host broadcasters, leaving agreements with global television partners who take a ‘world feed’ from the match as the last hurdle to clear. Increasingly, it seems they might provide a sympathetic ear given another mixed forecast.

Silverwood, for one, would be more than happy to be flexible if it helps prevent a repeat of last week’s frustrations.

“The earlier start time makes a lot of sense to me. What is the harm in starting at 10.30am?” he said.

“In my opinion it would be a good idea. I know there’s chats around it and there will be no complaints from us if it happens. But I’ve had no official word it’ll happen.

“We’re all here anyway. We’re all on the ground, so it wouldn’t be very difficult to make it happen.

“To have both sides – to have everyone, really – in the bubble sat around was hard work at times. You feel for everyone involved including the viewers at home hoping to watch some cricket. I felt for everyone that we were just here sat around twiddling our thumbs.”

Stuart Broad took to Instagram to remind more than half a million followers that any administrative tweaks around the game would not have much impact unless it stopped raining.

Hopes of a meaningful outdoor practice in Southampton were scuppered on Wednesday by yet more downpours, with water pooling on the outfield and the pitch under cover.

He posted a shot of the square shrouded in tarpaulins with a caption that read: “We could play out here if we turned the lights on brighter, used a really really really red waterproof ball, wore night vision goggles and bowled in wellies.”

The groundstaff at the Ageas Bowl are said to be hopeful of preparing a fresh pitch for the match but the possibility of playing on a used surface – a less than ideal situation for batsmen – remains on the table given the inclement weather.

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