The International Cricket Council has decided to start with four-day Test matches on a trial basis but the Indian cricket team is unlikely to play the curtailed version of the longest format in near future.
The decision to introduce four-day Test was taken during a recent ICC board meeting in Auckland with South Africa and Zimbabwe set to play the inaugural four day ‘Test’ on Boxing Day.
However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India wants to stick to traditional format as has been recommended by the Anil Kumble-led ICC Cricket Committee, which was against this experimental move. “India will not play any four-day Test matches, at least in the near future. Any Test match involving India will be a five-day affair,” a senior BCCI official privy to developments said.
“The BCCI believes that there is a lot of merit in Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee’s recommendations that duration should not be tinkered with. But since four-day Test matches are bi-partite agreements, if two nations are okay, they will go ahead with it,” the official said.
The other reason for BCCI not warming up to four-day Tests is because there are no points awarded for the proposed Test league. “Only five-day Tests will have points that will be counted for the World Test Championship. What’s the point in playing matches that won’t count for anything. In any case, if we play Ireland or Afghanistan also, it will be five-day affairs,” the official said.
Asked if near future, the broadcasters start pressurizing for curtailed Test matches, the official said: “We will cross that bridge when it comes.” It is learnt that ICC’s main aim towards promoting four-day Test is to ensure that Ireland and Afghanistan are eased into the system along with Zimbabwe being able to remain competitive.
“Let’s be practical. For Ireland or Afghanistan, it will be very difficult that they can be competitive in a five-day format straightaway. If Test matches against these countries end inside three days or little over it, it is only logical that four-day Tests are tried out,” an official of a member board said.