Updated: December 30, 2019 6:00:28 pm
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to consider making the oldest format of the sport into a four-day affair from 2023 as part of the World Test Championship, primarily to free up the crowded calendar.
According to ESPNcricinfo, the governing body’s cricket committee will trim Test cricket to four days for the 2023-2031 cycle for a host of reasons — ICC’s desire to stage more global events, BCCI’s demands for an expanded bilateral calendar, the proliferation of T20 leagues, and the need to cut down the cost of hosting a five-day match.
Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts also backed the move and said that four-day Tests should be definitely considered.
“It is something that we have got to seriously consider this week. It is something that can’t be driven by emotion, but it needs to be driven by fact. We need to look at what’s the average length of Test matches over the past five-ten years in terms of time and overs,” Roberts told SEN Radio.
If four-day Tests were held during the 2015-2023 cycle, it would have freed up 335 days of scheduled cricket.
“We need to look at it very carefully and perhaps it is more likely than not in the mid-term future. What we absolutely will do is that over the next 12 to 18 months, is make sure the cricket calendar is nailed down for the years 2023 to 2031.”
“What we are committed to doing is working with all the ICC members – nobody is saying it is easy but what we are doing is looking at it holistically and we are committed to doing that.”
However, Australian captain Tim Paine was not enthused by the idea following his team’s 247-run win over New Zealand in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
“We might not have got a result if we’d done that in the Ashes, I think every game went to a fifth day,” said Paine.
“That’s the point of difference with Test cricket, it is five days, it’s harder mentally, it’s harder physically, and it tests players more than the four-day first-class fixtures do. I think that’s what it’s designed to do, so I hope it stays that way,” he added.
A four-day Test is not a new concept with the last one played between England and Ireland earlier this year. South Africa and Zimbabwe too have played one in 2017.
(with PTI inputs)
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