The International Cricket Council (ICC) in the board meeting in Auckland recently approved the proposal of playing four-day test matches between test playing nations by bilateral agreement. However, this is not the first time a four-day match will take place as earlier matches were played over three or four days.
This decision is remarkable at a point of time when ICC is struggling to keep the longest format of the game relevant to its supporters and bring in crowds in large numbers. ICC approved this four-day matches till 2019 World Cup after which the Test Championship, which was also agreed at the board meeting is scheduled to commence.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson while talking to the media after the meeting said, “Our priority was to develop an international cricket structure that gave context and meaning across international cricket and particularly in the Test arena. This has been delivered and every Test in the new League will be a five-day Test format.”
With this approval, South Africa’s Boxing Day match against Zimbabwe got its official test recognition. However, on the contrary, South African cricketer, Faf du Plessis said, “I believe the great Test matches have gone to the last hour of the last day on day five. That’s what is so special about Test cricket. In four-day cricket or first-class cricket, it does feel easier because there are only four days. For five days you have to graft it out. Bowlers have to bowl a lot more and batters have to construct much bigger innings. This Test proved that a day five was needed. If it was a rain-off yesterday, it would have been very disappointing so I am a fan of that.”
“Four-day Tests will also provide the new Test playing countries with more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents, which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top nine ranked teams,” Richardson signed off.