Zak Crawley has warned of “life changing” consequences should someone be injured when playing in poor light.
Crawley, who was recalled to the England Test team for this match in the absence of Ben Stokes, said that, in previous years, he had been as frustrated as any other spectator at the decision of match officials to take the players off for rain or bad light.
But now, as a player, he expressed more sympathy for the umpires and accepted they were faced with a difficult balancing act between “giving the fans what they want” and ensuring the safety of players.
“I’ve watched T20s when I was younger and they’ve come off when it’s drizzling,” Crawley said. “I’ve been guilty of arguing that it’s an entertainment business and we’re playing for the fans back home.
“But on Friday, I was at deep square when a couple of balls got hit out [to me] and I didn’t see them at all really.
“If someone cops one on the head because they didn’t see the ball in the field or a batsman cops one on the arm and misses the rest of the series, that’s life-changing differences in their career or their lives.
“It hasn’t happened in this game yet but who’s to say, if we come out and it’s dark, someone doesn’t break their arm or get hit in the head by a cricket ball?
“It’s definitely frustrating. You always want the game moving forward, especially when I’d like a bat. But I was thinking, if I was batting right now I’d probably want to go off. You have to look at it from both sides and probably the right decision was made. It was pretty dark.
“But it is an entertainment business so maybe there’s a way to work around it and give the fans what they want. It’s a difficult balance.”
Crawley also admitted he fought a battle to stop himself day dreaming about the maiden Test century which has eluded him so far. For while it is, no doubt, natural to visualise such a moment, Crawley feels focusing too much on such a milestone could create unnecessary pressure.
“I think about scoring a hundred all the time,” he said. “I pinch myself thinking about scoring a hundred in my room at night. I massively want to score a hundred for England. But I feel that could create too much pressure as I get closer. I don’t want to put myself under pressure.
“I’m trying to score in little sets of 10. No doubt, the first one is probably the hardest to get so I’m very much looking forward to the day I hopefully can get one. There’s a lot of hard work yet.”
Crawley may have only one opportunity to turn that dream into a reality in the second Test at the Ageas Bowl. With poor weather ruling out any play on the third day, England’s first innings will not begin until the fourth day of the match at the earliest.