The cricketing fraternity appears to be divided on four-day Tests. While a section of former players have given the new proposal a thumbs up, most of them are against the idea. As an ex-cricketer, I belong to the old school and I believe that in five-day cricket, the first day belongs to the medium-pacers. Test cricket itself is a test of character for a cricketer. It’s a test for every individual and you are taking that away. The tricky final day wicket is ticklish to handle and the bowlers have the upper hand and the batsmen will have to struggle to keep their wickets in tact or go for the runs to help the side win. It is really tough fight between ball and bat.
Recent reports suggested that the ICC’s cricket committee plans to recommend trimming Test matches to four days and all the possibilities are being worked out. Present day test wickets are under prepared and did not last long for five days. Most of the matches end in three days and hence the question of 4 day test matches came to fore. When India played Australia at Wankhede Stadium the match was over on the third day even after first day’s play was almost washed out for two sessions. But at a time when Test cricket is struggling to attract spectators and the stands are empty excitement is to be brought through new innovation of 90 overs four innings games for four days.
Excitement is there in every season. How you look at it is important, but it should not be boring and the matches should not end in a tame draw. Apart from cricketers from other countries Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have opposed to four day tests. Now it is up to ICC to decide upon the duration of matches in future. However, the ICC wants to try out the four-day Tests during the next FTP cycle between 2023-2031 to get more free days for the commercially lucrative shorter formats.
The spinners in test match cricket mature with age and they wait for the pitch to deteriorate to make the ball talk on day five. But if four day test matches come into play then the survival of star spinners will tested. The ICC, is set to reflect on the idea of making test matches four day affairs to free up a crammed international calendar and reduce player workload.
(The latter part of the article will continue tomorrow)
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)