New Zealand Cricket chief calls for four-day Test matches
David White, the New Zealand Cricket chief executive, has voiced his public backing to the idea mooted by the International Cricket Council to have a Two-tier system in place for Test matches and also called for the duration of the longer format of the game to be brought down to four days from its present five-day format.
White said that drastic measures were needed to bring back the audience to Test venues in the wake of the immense popularity the T20 format of the game has been able to garner in comparison to the truest version of the game. Pakistan and England played out a thrilling Test at Lord's which finished within four days and White believes teams around the world should seriously consider changing the duration of the Test matches.
"We need to seriously look at it,” White told ESPNCricinfo.com. “One of the challenges at the moment is if you play a three-Test series it has to be played over four weeks. Four weeks is a long time. But if you play a three-Test series of four-day cricket, it can be played over three weeks, so you save a week.
“And, as we know, the calendar is very congested. There's a lot of work to be done around this but it's certainly a concept that's worth exploring further."
White also supports the concept of dividing the Test playing nations into two tiers with promotions and relegations playing a part similar to the various football leagues around the world. The biggest reason for Whites stance is that the current bilateral setup doesn’t offer any incentive to play for other than a meaningless trophy and he feels the urge for something to fight for will make Test cricket really interesting.
"We are big supporters [of the two-tier system]. There's already a lot of interest in New Zealand in Test cricket, but if we had a competition with promotion and relegation and a winner at the end, it would really increase interest, no doubt about that,” White said.
"We support meritocracy. If you're good enough, you're good enough - if you're not good enough you shouldn't be there. It's incumbent upon us to make sure we are good enough. It will make people look at their high-performance programmes and their systems, so the product of Test cricket will improve as well,” he added.
However, White said that the ICC should make sure that the teams playing in the lower tier should not be put at a disadvantage financially as it will defeat the entire purpose of popularising and spreading the game of cricket to newer countries.
"Everyone agrees we need context, we need something that's aspirational. [But] the countries who don't make the top division in the first instance [should not be] not disadvantaged financially - that's really important," White said.