As a part of the ongoing World Test Championship, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to make four-day Tests mandatory from 2023 to free up the crowded calendar.
The traditional five-day Test match could be trimmed to four days for the 2023-2031 cycle.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the ICC’s cricket committee will formally consider the need for a four-day game so as to stage more global events and accommodate the BCCI’s demands for an expanded bilateral calendar, a proliferation of T20 leagues around the world and cost of hosting a five-day game.
If four-day Tests, which is not a new concept and was last played between England and Ireland earlier this year, were held during the 2015-2023 cycle, it would have freed up 335 days of scheduled cricket. South Africa and Zimbabwe too played one in 2017.
It is an issue that is likely to attract a contrasting view from the game’s stakeholders.
Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts feels 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.
“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 the 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.
(With inputs from agencies)