The International Cricket Council (ICC) is trying to save Test format of the game by implementing four-day Tests and day-night version of the traditional and longest format of the game.
Cricket news: Both these formats of Test cricket are in trial mode currently
The ongoing Test series between Pakistan and Australia in the UAE have forced the managing body to think over this issue.
Although the first Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium was a close contest, yet there were very few spectators present at the ground. There was a similar issue in the second Test at Abu Dhabi.
Geoff Allardice, the ICC General Manager for Cricket, feels that to solve this issue four-day Tests should be implemented. He also feels that it would help the rising Test nations such as Ireland and Afghanistan who debuted in the longest format this year. ICC had previously approved a four-day Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe back in 2017.
While speaking to the media, Geoff said, “If we look at the statistics, the Test matches generally last longer in Asian conditions. When it comes to the number of games going to the fifth day, the proportion is higher in Asia. So some countries look at matches that seldom go into the fifth day.”
“Test cricket is played over a wide range of conditions and I think a lot of the countries that came to see how Test cricket would change if it is played over four days. Unfortunately, the only experience we have with it is the South Africa-Zimbabwe (Test match) last year and it only lasted two days,” he added.
Afghanistan debuted in the Test format against the No. 1 side India in June this year. However they were no match as the hosts blew the newcomers and registered their then biggest Test victory by an innings and 262 runs. But ICC is keen to give more opportunities to Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe to play more Test cricket.
“At the moment we are trying to get opportunities for Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe to play Test cricket against some of the teams that are in the World Test Championship. From the fixtures point of view, that often works better over four days than five,” said Allardice.
Until now Australia has hosted the most number of day-night Test matches and has experienced increase in viewership. Although this is not a conclusive evidence, yet ICC feels that day-night Tests could boost viewership in both television and stadium.