While the international governing body continues to mull innovative changes in cricket’s traditional format to make it attractive, not all are convinced. Former Sri Lanka captain and one of the game’s top batsmen Mahela Jayawardene feels Test cricket should remain a five-day affair even if he is a member of the ICC Cricket Committee. On Wednesday, the former cricketer said the committee will discuss the idea of curtailing the duration of Test matches to four days in an upcoming meeting.
Former India Test captain Anil Kumble who heads the committee of the governing body said the proposal will be discussed in the next round of the ICC meetings to be held at its headquarters in Dubai between March 27 and 31.
The 42-year-old Jayawardena, who is the ninth highest scorer in Tests and the second-highest for Sri Lanka after Kumar Sangakkara, said he is personally against any change in the red-ball format. “We will discuss it in the meeting (in March, and I don’t know what will happen after that but my personal opinion is that it should remain five days. I would not want any change,” India Today cited agencies quoting him as saying. The committee also includes the likes of Rahul Dravid, Andrew Strauss and Shaun Pollock.
Virat Kohli has also expressed disapproval against four-day Tests
The proposal, which has been floated for the 2023-31 cycle, has not been well-accepted by other former greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting. Even current India captain Virat Kohli has expressed reservations against tampering with the format. Board of Control for Cricket in India chief Sourav Ganguly has said that it is “too early” to talk about it.
Ahead of the first T20I against Sri Lanka in Guwahati last week, Kohli made his stand on the issue clear. He said: “According to me, it should not be altered. As I said, the day-night is another step towards commercializing 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.” Kohli’s contemporary Nathan Lyon has also attacked the idea, calling it “ridiculous”.
Among other former international players who want to see four-day Tests are Shane Warne, Mark Taylor and Michael Vaughan. Teams like England and Ireland and South Africa and Zimbabwe have played four-day Tests in the past.
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