Since the early 1970s, Test matches have been played for five consecutive days. The last time that a four-day test match happened was in 1973 when New Zealand went against Pakistan. It was in the 1980s when a rest day, which was usually on a Sunday, was included.
The recent match between England and South Africa lasted for five days and this is why the International Cricket Council’s or ICC’s push for four-day tests is now, once again, brought into the spotlight.
It has been a while since the ICC seems to have been pushing for four-day Tests. The talk about this has started since the increase of leagues playing for Test matches. There are now 20 leagues that can play for five days at most, but it’s also the fact that more and more matches seem to end even before the fourth day.
Since Test matches could stretch up to five days, cricket match calendars for the whole year tend to be full and possibly hard to manage. Broadcasting matches can be hard too as overlaps of Test matches worldwide can happen.
Another driver of ICC’s consideration regarding this is the so-called Snapchat generation. Many cricket followers are in this generation and the long hours of Test matches may not be ideal for them. Less number of days apparently may help cricket gain more followers from the said generation.
These are mainly the reasons why the ICC is contemplating about leaving the five-day tests behind by the year 2023, but, of course, some are seeing this as a strategical move for the cricket industry to make more money. This is why many are simply disappointed that the ICC is even considering losing the fifth day.
The thrill of the fifth day matches is usually different and more intense. This is what many cricket fans are always looking forward to. Even cricket punters are always looking forward to seeing today’s match predictions during fifth day matches.
The recent match between South Africa and Zimbabwe ended dramatically and with so much intensity that cricket fans expressed why five-day Tests is simply essential and should not be touched at all. Cricket purists are now using that match as a way to prove that the longest form of a cricket game should remain the same.
Even cricket players are expressing their thoughts regarding this. Indian cricket legend player Sachin Tendulkar shared his sentiments about this and said, “There is T20, it is one-dayers and then there are T10 and 100-ball cricket. Test is the purest form of cricket. It should not be tinkered with.”
England cricketer Ian Botham is also on the side of cricket purists about four-day test matches. His tweet after match between England and South Africa made it obvious that the cricketer wants the ICC to leave the flagship of cricket alone.
“Well played England…Such a good idea to end 5day test cricket….full house watching cricket at its best!!! Leave the flagship of cricket alone it’s a real test of character, skill, guts, stamina & ability…it’s real cricket for real players!!! Leave it alone,” was the content of his tweet.
While many are expressing that they’re against four-day Tests, Cricket South Africa or CSA has recently released their official statement about this. It turns out that they are supportive of the four-day Test cricket move.
The statement was released to clarify the initial report that the Daily Mail released about how the CSA is against the movement.
The statement read: “In view of an unsourced and misleading report in the media this morning please be advised that it is Cricket South Africa’s official policy to support four-day Test match cricket. We, in fact, hosted the first official four-day Test match between ourselves and Zimbabwe a couple of years ago.”
Overall, it still seems like the majority of cricket fans are against ICC’s movement regarding four-day Test matches. What they are saying is that there shouldn’t really be an issue about five-day Tests in the first place. The five-day Tests are already the standard and nothing should be changed.
What cricket fans and many in the industry are saying is that the ICC should focus on more pressing matters. They are saying that the ICC should focus on bringing in more leagues and players in the industry.
For now, what’s known is that the four-day Tests proposal will be discussed in the next ICC meeting that will be held in Dubai from March 27 to 31 of this year.