England slugger Ben Stokes and Aussie captain Tim Paine have been vocal critics of the four-day Test idea. Picture: Getty Images
England slugger Ben Stokes and Aussie captain Tim Paine have been vocal critics of the four-day Test idea. Picture: Getty Images

Players have win in four-day Test fight

PLAYER power to keep Test matches at five days has been backed by cricket's law makers, with the MCC urging the ICC to leave the game alone.

Australian captain Tim Paine, India's Virat Kohli and England's Ben Stokes are high-profile players who hit out at the four-day concept Cricket Australia boss Kevin Roberts was pushing hard.

 

Stokes said they should rename Test cricket "Easy Cricket" if matches were cut by one day. Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar also urged the ICC to leave the format as it is.

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A statement from the Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns Lords and has Aussie legends Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne on its World Cricket committee, confirmed it wanted Tests to remain five-day contests.

"The MCC Cricket committee and MCC World Cricket committee have recently discussed the issue and although they can see some benefits that four-day Test cricket could bring, both committees believe that Test cricket should continue to be played over five days," the statement read.

The MCC will next meet in Sri Lanka in March. The ICC will also meet in March and is set to seriously discuss the four-day Test proposal.

But would be extremely difficult for the ICC to ignore both the game's best cricketers and the custodians of cricket laws by making the significant change.

Roberts is currently in India meeting with BCCI officials, including new president Sourav Ganguly.

"As we explore possibilities in the next cycle, from 2023-2031, it's very important that we ask ourselves the right questions in world cricket," Roberts said last month.

"You've got to look really seriously at the future of four-day Test cricket."

A wealth of data has shown more than 60 per cent of Tests since 2014 have finished in four days and spinners don't rely on the fifth day or the fourth innings to get more wickets. Nathan Lyon has taken 81 wickets in the fourth innings, which is just 20.8 per cent of his 390 career scalps.

But Lyon labelled the push to cut Tests matches as "ridiculous" and it is seemingly only administrators interested in tampering with tradition.

News Corp Australia


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