The ICC is contemplating introducing four-day Test as part of the second ICC World Test Championships starting 2023. The plan might be executed starting 2020 after serious discussion with various boards regarding a better cricketing calendar without crammed schedules.
“It is something that we have got to seriously consider,” Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts told SEN Radio 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.
“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.”
With excessive cricket being played around the world, mostly due to globalisation of many T20 leagues, the window for more international cricket is taken up. With Test matches being reduced to four days, cricketers can get themselves a little more rest time, reducing the toll the drill of a Test match takes on the body.
However, it is believed that most international cricketers may not completely be comfortable with the idea since five day-contest is one of the factors that separate domestic and top-level competition. Tony Irish, the head of the international players’ body FICA, believes the move cannot be made without proper scheduling and flexible structure.
“There are two aspects to four-day Tests, the cricket aspect and the scheduling aspect,” Irish told ESPNcricinfo. “It would take pressure off the schedule but our concern would be that the ad hoc way the schedule currently works they would simply plug in more cricket into the gaps. If introduced it therefore has to be part of a more coherent structure.
“We would need to understand exactly how the cricket aspects are intended to work and we would need to take that to the players. In the past, many players have been against a change to four days. However, if we have a clear picture of how it all works in an improved and well-structured schedule, then it would be something that could be taken to the players for their consideration.
“Unfortunately with the ICC there is a history of introducing these types of changes in an unstructured way and that would need to change. We reckon they need to do a lot of work on how the schedule will look and not just present it as a concept.”