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(June 3, 2017 - Source: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe)

Opposition to Four-Day Tests Growing

The number of former and current international players opposed to the idea of restricting test matches to four days continues to swell.

The ICC are pressing ahead with plans to discuss the concept at their next general council meeting scheduled for March, despite the chorus of voices against the idea growing ever louder.

Now former Indian great, Sachin Tendulkar, has joined them, and has warned the ICC about the dangers of straying too far from the roots of the game in a bid to attract a younger audience.

The thinking behind the ICC proposals is that, by limiting tests to four days, they can free up time in an overcrowded cricketing calendar for more lucrative shorter form tournaments, like one day games and Twenty20 competitions.

They also argue that, with many test matches finishing inside four days anyway, there would no fundamental damage to the format by restricting them in length.

Ex-players like Tendulkar argue that the ICC’s proposals are muddled, and that there are better ways of making test cricket more attractive, such as preparing better pitches so that there is more of an even contest between bat and ball.

Tendulkar is just the latest high profile figure to come out against the idea, with current test captains Virat Kohli, Joe Root, and Tim Paine all stating their opposition to the idea.

And, if evidence were needed that five day tests still have something to offer, one needs to look no further than the second test between South Africa and England which has just finished in Cape Town. Going into the final day, with South Africa needing 312 runs to win, and with eight second innings wickets still standing, all three results were still possible – a home win, a draw, or a victory for the tourists.

Even going into the last hour of the match, the result still was in doubt, with the home side seemingly edging to a draw. But then England all-rounder Ben Stokes produced a devastating spell of fast bowling to blow away the last three wickets, giving England their first victory in Cape Town since 1957.

Afterwards South African captain Faf du Plessis also stated his opposition to four day tests, even though, had the rule applied in that match, it would have meant his side would have drawn and not lost the game.

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