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England to push for four-day Tests at ICC Board meeting: Reports

ECB chairman Colin Graves feels four-day Test matches could revitalise Test cricket.

Colin Graves
Colin Graves took over as ECB chairman last year

The England Cricket Board has reportedly come up with yet another idea to revive the longest format of the game – shortening the duration of Tests to four days. With day-night Tests already having begun and the two-tier structure most likely to get a go-ahead by the ICC, it may not come as a surprise if the governing body of international cricket agrees to four-day Tests. ECB chairman Colin Graves had first proposed the idea last year and is hoping to transform it into a reality.

Speaking about the concerns that urged him to contemplate the idea of shorter Test matches, Graves said, “I love Test cricket, but it’s a worry when you look around the world and see diminishing numbers of spectators.”

Also Read: Pros and Cons of the Four Day Test Matches

“It saddens me and we have to do something about it. If it were a business, we’d pull it to bits and re-do it. From what they’ve said, Australia would look at it, but it’s not just about four-day games: it’s about revitalising Test cricket. There are lots of questions to consider,” he added.

There has been an ongoing trend of Test matches ending in 4 days or even lesser in recent years, irrespective of whether the match is being played in England, India, Australia or anywhere else in the cricketing world. There are very few games that stretch till the fifth day and quite a few of them peter out into dull draws.

According to the ECB chairman, the club or association which is hosting the match has to bear losses on the fifth day. He said, “I spent 14 years at Yorkshire and it always cost money. You get small crowds, and you have to pay for things like security and ground operating costs. Do people want the fifth day if it’s heading for a boring draw?’

Graves also had a few suggestions for how the idea can be taken forward including beginning an hour early and bowling 105 overs in a day. He said that the bowlers would have to learn to dish out 15 overs an hour. To add to it, he has also proposed an extra day in case the weather plays spoilsport.

Colin Graves hinted at the possibility of India opposing the idea of four-day Tests as BCCI is the only board which has not shown too much inclination towards the idea. It is highly likely that the ECB will propose the change in the next ICC board meeting, which will commence on 27 June at Edinburgh.

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