Sri Lanka’s Jayawardena not keen on reducing Test cricket to four days

The former Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardena, who is a member of the ICC Cricket Committee, has voiced opposition to the proposed radical changes to Test cricket.

Mahela Jayawardena

ICC Cricket Committee member Mahela Jayawardena on Wednesday said Tests should remain a five-day affair, even though the body he is a part of will discuss curtailing the format to four days in an upcoming meeting.

Former India captain Anil Kumble, who heads the cricket committee of the sport’s governing body, has said that the proposal will be discussed in the next round of the ICC meetings to be held in Dubai from March 27-31.

Jayawardena, a former captain of Sri Lanka, said he is personally against any change to the Test format.

“We will discuss it in the meeting (in March, and I don’t know what will happen after that but my personal opinion is that it should remain five days—I would not want any change,” he told PTI.

The likes of Andrew Strauss, Rahul Dravid and Shaun Pollock are also in the committee.

The proposal, which has been floated for the 2023-2031 cycle, has not gone down well with the greats of the game, with Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting opposing the idea.

However, member boards from England and Australia are open to the idea, while BCCI boss Sourav Ganguly has said that “it is too early” to talk about it.

Ahead of the three-match T20 series opener against Sri Lanka in Guwahati last week, Kohli made his stance very clear on the subject.

“According to me, it should not be altered,” he said. “As I said, the day-night is another step towards commercialising Test cricket and you know, creating excitement around it, but it can’t be tinkered with too much.”

“Then you are purely only talking about getting numbers, entertainment and you know. I think the intent will not be right then because then you will speak of three-day Tests. I mean where do you end. Then you will speak of Test cricket disappearing. So I don’t endorse that at all.”

Leading Australia spinner Nathan Lyon has termed the idea “ridiculous”.

More recently, Australian great Ponting expressed his disapproval of four-day Tests.

Amongst former players who want to see four-day Tests are Shane Warne, Mark Taylor and Michael Vaughan.

The ICC wants to try out four-day Tests, primarily to free up space in the crowded calendar and use that time for the commercially lucrative shorter formats.

It is not a new phenomenon. England and Ireland played a four-day Test last year. South Africa and Zimbabwe too played one in 2017.

Report by Press Trust of India


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