Ex-Tigers reject Tests’ four-day concept

Former Bangladeshi cricketers on Sunday joined the growing chorus against four-day Test after the International Cricket Council proposed to reduce the length of cricket’s most sacred format.

The ICC’s cricket committee is expected to consider a proposal this year to make four-day Tests mandatory as part of the World Test Championship in a bid to ease pressure in an increasingly crowded international schedule.

‘If the ICC decides to hold four-day Test matches, the number of drawn matches will increase. Many teams will have the chance to draw Test matches if four-day Test are arranged,’ former Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar told New Age.

‘I think the idea came in order to make Test cricket more competitive and attacking. But at the same time current Test matches are mostly result-oriented and we hardly see teams drawing Test matches,’ he added.

The idea of four-day Test matches is, however, not completely new and came under trial in 2017 and South Africa and England played two four-day Test matches respectively against Zimbabwe and Ireland since then.

The idea was later dropped as the trial for not producing desired outcome, though it was not completely discarded.

A Bangladesh Cricket Board official privy to the matter said the ICC also considered allowing the two newest Test nations Afghanistan and Ireland four-day Test matches.

The idea of four-day Test gathered pace after only 12 of 39 Tests played in 2019 went into fifth day.

Former Bangladesh opener Javed Omar believed that the appeal of Test cricket would be lost by such stance and said that the ICC must try hosting more day-night Tests instead of reducing the size of Test in order to make it more attractive.

‘I don’t support playing four-day Test instead of five-day. Five-day Test has its own appeal and I think it should not be changed,’ said Javed.

‘I am okay with pink-ball Test match but I am totally against four-day Test as it will change the long history of cricket,’ he added.

Former cricketer Rajin Saleh believed the success of Twenty20 cricket prompted the ICC to come with the idea of four-day Test.

‘Since the introduction of Twenty20 cricket, the appeal of Test cricket somewhat got reduced. But despite that, I am a supporter of maintaining basic formula in Test cricket. Test cricket is meant for five days and it must not be modified,’ he said.

‘In first-class four-day matches, we often see drawn matches. I am afraid four-day Test will be the same,’ he said.

BCB’s chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury refused to make any comment as the matter was not discussed in the board yet.

Some BCB officials said this could be a blessing in disguise for Bangladesh as they will be able to push the opposition harder in case of four-day Test to get some draws if not win.

Of the 117 Tests Bangladesh played they could win just 13 Tests and drew 16 Tests- many of them owing to rain. In 2019, only two of their five Test matches went into fifth day.

BCB officials said a four-day Test will also reduce the cost of hosting a series and create windows for shorter version matches, helping them generate more revenues.

Former Bangladesh captain and BCB director Gazi Ashraf Hossain Lipu said despite some positive sides there was no guarantee of four-day matches getting successful.

‘We cannot guarantee that four-day Test will be a blessing for us,’ he said. ‘You can’t guarantee that you will be able to draw Test if it is played in four days. And drawing Tests should not be the thing we will look forward before going for in any Test,’ he said.

Source: New Age.

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