Nathan Lyon of Australia reacts during day 2 of the first Test match between Australia and New Zealand at Optus Stadium in Perth, Friday, December 13, 2019. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)
Nathan Lyon of Australia reacts during day 2 of the first Test match between Australia and New Zealand at Optus Stadium in Perth, Friday, December 13, 2019. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

BEHIND THE DESK: Is four-day test cricket the next step?

With the International Cricket Council warming up to the idea of four-day test matches, could the trialled format be the way of the future, or should the traditional five-day format stay?

 

THERE'S NO NEED FOR CHANGE

Mitchell Keenan

 

THE moment the suggestion of four day test matches was put forward you could just feel cricket traditionalists tensing up.

While modern marketing of the age-old game has led to the introduction of shorter forms of the game such as Twenty20 and even 10 over matches, they've decided to come for the purest form of the game- the test match.

The idea was first put forward and approved by the International Cricket Council in 2017 but Australia's one off test against Afghanistan next summer could be one of the first trialling the format.

Understandably, the idea has been met with resistance by the Aussie's, with spin-wizard Nathan Lyon voicing his frustrations on the Unplayable podcast earlier this week.

"Ridiculous," he said.

"I'm not a fan. I believe you'll get so many more draws... I'm totally against it and I hope the ICC aren't even considering it."

Cricket legend and national coach Justin Langer voiced his opinion, stating that "if four-day test matches keep test cricket alive and well then it's worth looking at."

South Africa were the first to trial a four-day match back in 2017 and it didn't go down too well with players from both sides showing little love to the new style.

Five day cricket is the ultimate test of endurance and strategy so I think it would be a shame to cut it short.

 

FOUR DAY TESTS ON THE WAY

Jarrard Potter

 

THERE'S nothing sacred left in test cricket.

From numbers on the back of shirts to day-night matches, the nature of test matches has changed so much since the first official game back in 1877.

Shortening the game and bringing in four-day test matches is the next logical step in the evolution of test cricket.

Purists will turn their nose up at the thought of a shortening of the five-day game, long considered to be the pinnacle of cricket as opposed to the flash and dash nature of the ODI and T20 games.

Let us not forget that five-day test cricket wasn't always the norm. The last official four-day test matches were last played in 1973, between New Zealand and Pakistan and until the 1980s, it was usual to include a "rest day", often a Sunday.
Then there were the matches where there was no set time-frame, and teams played on until there was a result. A total of 99 so-called "Timeless Tests" were played between 1877 and 1939.

So, for something that has been considered the "purest" form of the sport, test cricket has been tinkered with in the past, and tinkering will continue in the future, as administrators look to ensure the popularity of the sport continues.

Four-day test matches might not appeal to the purists, but they may strike a balance between them and the fans of the shorter formats.



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