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Volume 6 No. 215
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Test Matches In England May Be Cut From Five To Four Days Under ECB Plans

The traditional five-day Test, which has been a feature of the English summer for nearly 70 years, will end in '20 "if the England & Wales Cricket Board successfully argues for the introduction of four-day matches," according to Nick Hoult of the London TELEGRAPH. The ECB is "leading the push" for Test matches to be reduced to four days after the '19 Ashes summer, believing it is the "best way to breathe new life into the game's oldest format," and is "confident it has the support of broadcasters and host grounds." A four-day Test would start in England half an hour earlier at 10:30am to "give teams more time to bowl the increased number of overs in a day and with all venues now having floodlights, play would be extended where possible." Sources said that the ECB will "put its weight behind the switch to four-day Tests at the next board meeting" of the Int'l Cricket Council in October. The ECB's support for four-day Test cricket "will alarm traditionalists," who already feel the game is being "squeezed by too much Twenty20 with the introduction of a new league in England in two years' time." It is understood the ECB’s new broadcast deal does not guarantee Test matches will be scheduled for five days, "removing one potential obstacle for change." A shift to four-day Tests would enable the ECB to guarantee Thursday starts for each match, "which is the preferred option for Test match grounds as it allows them to maximise corporate income" (TELEGRAPH, 9/23).