ICC cricket committee, headed by Anil Kumble, will be discussing the possibilities of cutting down the duration of a Test match to four days. Kumble told PTI a few days back that the four-day Test proposal is indeed features on the discussion list in the meeting in March this year.
He said, "Since I am part of the committee, I can't tell what I am thinking about it (proposal) at the moment. We will discuss it in the meeting and let you know."
Since the idea of four-day Tests was first thrown, cricketers from all over the world, past and present, have spoken on it. Here, we have accumulated all of their opinions on the matter.
Virat Kohli says 'it cannot be tinkered too much'
Indian captain Virat Kohli has clearly said that four-day Tests would be a too radical an idea. He believes that if a day is sacrificed from the original five-day format, there would be talk about cutting it further down to three days.
He said, "According to me, it should not be altered. As I said, the day-night is another step towards commercialising Test cricket and you know, creating excitement around it, but it can't be tinkered with too much."
"Then you are purely only talking about getting numbers, entertainment and you know. I think the intent will not be right then because then you will speak of three-day Tests. I mean where do you end. Then you will speak of Test cricket disappearing. So I don't endorse that at all."
Ricky Ponting: Why do we need to fix it or change it?
Former Australia captain and batsman has also ridiculed the idea of four-day Tests, saying he would like to know what initiated the discussion behind the radical proposal. He said, "I'd like to hear the other reasons behind it. I don't understand it enough and I'm very much a traditionalist, so if something's not really badly broken then why do we need to fix it or change it?"
Sachin Tendulkar: Don't think the format should be tinkered with
Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar said "taking away the fifth-day track from a spinner is like taking away the first-day track from a fast bowler", stressing on the need to stick to the present format. He said, "The batsmen will start thinking that it is a longer version of limited-overs match because the moment you bat till the second day lunch, you know that there are only two and half days to go. That changes the thinking and dynamics of the game."
"Taking away the fifth-day track from a spinner is like taking away the first-day track from a fast bowler. There is no fast bowler in the world who wouldn't want to bowl on a fifth-day track," added Sachin, who has played 200 Tests.
Shoaib Akhtar: Four-day Test a 'conspiracy' against Asian teams
Former Pakistan bowler Shoaib Akhar took the debate on another level, when he said that the four day Tests are a conspiracy-driven agenda. He explained, "ICC cannot implement this rule without the permission of BCCI. BCCI along with all the smart cricketers are standing against this idea, specially spinners from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh who dominate and thrive in a series will not let this happen."
"What will the spinners do? Danish Kaneria, Mushtaq Ahmed, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble have taken 400-500 wickets. What will happen to them?," said Akhtar.
Glenn McGrath: Against the idea of playing four-day Tests
Bowling great Glenn McGrath did not mince his words while criticising the idea of four-day Tests, saying he likes the game the way it is. McGrath, who has played 124 Tests, said, "To me five days is very special and I'd hate to see it get any shorter. The introduction of pink Tests, day-night Tests is a great way to continue keeping our game fresh and moving forward. In respects to changing how many days its played, I'm actually against it. I like the way it is."
Joe Root: It's worth trialing
England Test captain Joe Root backed the idea, saying it will help bring people to the stadium, especially of the countries who struggle at this front. He told Sky Sports in an interview, "I think it's worth trialing. I do think it's worth trialing and it might not always make sense for England to play especially if its against Australia or some of the bigger sides but it might draw a bit more interest with some of the countries who struggle to get people in the ground."
Ridiculous, says Nathan Lyon
The idea of playing four-day Tests is ridiculous to spinner Nathan Lyon.
"Ridiculous. I'm not a fan of four-day Test matches," he told The Unplayable Podcast. "One, there's the weather element. But the wickets these days are probably a lot flatter than they have been in the past, so it allows teams to bat longer and to put pressure on sides. You need time for the pitch to deteriorate and bring spinners in more on day five as well," he said.
It should be taken into consideration, says Tim Paine
Australia's Test captain Tim Paine has backed the idea of playing four-day Tests, saying it should be considered. However, he said, the five-day format should not be tinkered with in Test championship. He was quoted as saying on ESPNcricinfo,"I dare say going back six or seven years if you let the players decide on pink ball that probably wouldn't have happened. There is always going to be some give and take. I think there is some merit on it being in the odd Test like we did with England and Ireland. But I think the big marquee Test series, the Test championship stuff has to stay five days."
"I hope five-day Test cricket doesn't come to an end, says Vernon Philander, putting a stance against the idea.
"I think the game has changed and if four-day Test cricket could preserve and potentially improve Test cricket I think it has to be looked at," said Jos Buttler, backing the idea.
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