England backs ICC plans to scrap five-day Tests

The ICC could make four-day Tests mandatory from 2023 as part of the World Test Championship, primarily to free up the crowded calendar.

South Africa players celebrate after beating England in Centurion Test.   -  Reuters Photo

The International Cricket Council has found a backer in England as the sport’s apex body plans to scrap five-day Tests from 2023 to ease player workload in a crowded calendar.

The ICC could make four-day Tests mandatory from 2023 as part of the World Test Championship, primarily to free up the crowded calendar.

“We believe it could provide a sustainable solution to the complex scheduling needs and player workloads we face as a global sport,” an ECB spokesperson was quoted as saying in Daily Telegraph.

Tests have been played over five days through most of their 140-year history.

If four-day Tests are held during the 2015-2023 cycle, it would free up 335 days of scheduled cricket.

A four-day Test is not a new concept with the last one played between England and Ireland earlier this year. South Africa and Zimbabwe too played one in 2017.

“We’re definite proponents of the four-day Test concept, but cautiously so, as we understand it’s an emotive topic for players, fans and others who have concerns about challenging the heritage of Test cricket.”

Indian cricket board president Sourav Ganguly has said it is too early to make a comment on the matter.

Last week, Cricket Australia’s chief executive Kevin Roberts said mandatory four-day Tests are “something that we have got to seriously consider”.

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