Some time back today, I got to know that ICC is thinking about four-day test matches from five-day test matches so that this oldest format of the game does not die because of the huge rise of T20 cricket.
The ICC chief recently talked about this in any interview. He said this is one of the things they are considering.
If you ask me, this move is highly NOT recommended.
The main reason given behind this is that it may reduce the number of draws. Which would result in a greater audience. Maybe David Morgan, the ICC chief, has no knowledge of this game of cricket.
I will start with proof that is visible to all. Most of the first-class matches are draws. And I know it for a fact that 99 percent of these games are four-dayers.
You can go to Asia, Australia, and its neighbor New Zealand, or to Europe. or the the Africas, the situation remains the same.
I think David Morgan also does not have any common sense. Five days allow the players to play more. So the chances of a result are more.
Maybe the cricketers might start playing a bit quicker and the whole pace of the game might increase, but a huge increase needs to happen if we want more results in a four-day and I don't think players can up the pace so soon.
Also, if weather plays spoil sport, then the chances to get a result remain more in a five-day game.
And if this is the case, then there will definitely be more draws till the players adapt. Which would lead to an instant loss of audience. It might just be too late to bring the audiences by the time players finally adapt.
And even if draws do reduce drastically, then we lose those closely fought draws that we all enjoy. Sometimes the whole match turns out to be so good that we don't really want to see a winner.
These are occasions when we don't want one team to get lucky and win. And four-day matches will definitely reduce this. And this will result in a reduction of interest as well.
And even if the we see more draws, in four days, the draws will not be that close (but this is an assumption I make on the basis of my understanding).
And even if all this is taken care of, the audiences may really not come. In a time when just twenty overs of cricket seems so long to people, reducing a day will not make any huge impact.
Having four day games will also be unfair to players. These guys have been having five days a match for such a long time, think how they will react to this. It will take time for them to adjust.
And today boards are so intolerant and competition is so great, that these guys will get replaced very quickly. This will lead to instability within teams.
Also such a move is not fair to the great players. Even they will take time to adjust. Maybe a bit less than others, but still the will. So are we talking of replacing them, too?
If you ask any player, the person will agree that five days of cricket are a lot tougher than four. So we will also be making the sport easier for the cricketers. The final result to this would be a drop in the player quality across the world.
I am not saying that making things easier for these guys is not right. But this can be done by reducing the amount of cricket played by them. Even a 10 percent decrease will make a difference.
Four-dayers, can clearly be seen as the main enemy of slow batting too. With time reducing, the batters have to score at a greater rate than they do today. So slow batters, no matter how high their averages might be, will have to be dropped.
Slow batting is an art of test cricket which can be crucial at times. So looking to eradicate it is to insult cricketing skill.
A similar situation will be for bowlers with good averages but average strike rates.
All these things clearly highlight the most important point: how the basic game structure is going to get destroyed.
ICC has not understood the fact that changes are very useful in improving the game for today's generation, but it is not good to shake the basic roots of the game.
Modifications have to be made. But shaking the fundamentals is blasphemous. And this new rule can shake of one of the main fundamentals: patience.
Some of the best moments in the game are based on patience and some of the worst are based on the lack of it.
Having day and night matches is such a good idea. Work on that. Work on these good ideas which would help the cricket fans see matches when they are actually free.
Change balls to facilitate this. Or do anything else that helps. But work on good.
Also, having four-day matches at first-class level makes more sense. The young guys are being prepared for tougher stages. Though if possible, I don't mind having at this level too.
So why is this being done?
Why doesn't the ICC realise that they have gain some popularity among real cricket enthusiasts (I don't think the 'fans' who just waste their time arguing when they have no basis for them are any threat to the ICC)?
And most importantly, ICC is there to protect the game and not to try and destroy its basic body because the beard wasn't matching with it.
I would much rather have the beard (t20 cricket) destroyed. But wanting this requires common sense.