Blackcaps vs India: 'It's hard to move the sun' - Kane Williamson after bizarre cricket delay

More than 30 minutes of play was lost during the first one-day-international encounter between the Blackcaps and India on Wednesday night in Napier - not because of rain or bad lights, but sunlight.

At 7:20pm in the 11th over during India's chase, play was stopped as the setting sun was at an awkward angle and straight in the batsmen's eyes at McLean Park, and the players left the field.

The players returned to the field just before 8pm. 

While this is rare, it has happened before. Two years ago, a T20 between Bangladesh and New Zealand was delayed because of the same issue - but this occurred during an innings break.

Only last week, a domestic match between Central Districts and Canterbury was also stopped for 20 minutes.

The east-west alignment of the pitches at the ground are to blame. Most cricket grounds have pitches running north to south, according to ESPN Cricinfo.

Umpires Shaun Haig and Shaun George.
Umpires Shaun Haig and Shaun George. Photo credit: Getty

The match was the first international to be played at McLean Park in more than two years after the Napier City Council spent $5 million on a re-turf and new drainage on the outfield, after the previous two scheduled ODIs at the stadium against Pakistan and Australia were abandoned due to a waterlogged outfield.

Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson felt the umpires made the right call as there was no other option.

"We haven't had to deal with too many sunstrikes. We knew in some of the domestic T20 games it had been the case. It is fairly considerable, and it did have to happen," he said.

"It's hard to move the sun and hard to move the grandstand. We didn't have either of those options, so we had to sit down for a bit."

Indian captain Virat Kohli said he has never experienced anything like this, but also praised the decision.

"Never in my life. I actually got out in a game in 2014 because the sun was in my eyes. This rule [play stopping because of the sun] wasn't there then. I am glad there's a rule now," he told Indian media.

Indian batsmen leave the field due to the sun.
Indian batsmen leave the field due to the sun. Photo credit: Photosport

"It seems to be the angle the sun comes down at McLean, and it becomes very blinding," former Blackcaps test opener Mark Richardson said on The AM Show.

"It is difficult and dangerous for the batsmen, unsafe for the wicketkeeper and unsafe for the bloke who field at fine-leg or third man.

 "We knew it was going to happen, we were prepared for it, and it happened."

Once play resumed, India went onto win the match by eight wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. 

Despite losing, Williamson said it was great to be playing cricket in Napier once again.

"It's a proud cricketing area and every time we come here there's a good turnout, a good crowd, albeit maybe 80 percent were Indian today. But that's cool. We've had a number of good results here, but today it wasn't the case."

The second ODI takes place in Mt Maunganui on Saturday.

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