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Agencies
January 12, 2020

Pakistan opposes 4-day Tests

Sports

A
Agencies
January 12, 2020

LAHORE: Pakistan are not fans of the idea of four-day Test cricket, with the current leaders of the coaching staff, head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis both opposing reducing Test cricket to four days.

They join a growing chorus of coaches and former players, including former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur, as well as India’s head coach Ravi Shastri, Mahela Jayawardene and Chris Gayle, who do not wish to see four-day Test cricket.

ESPNcricinfo understands the Pakistan Cricket Board shares the opposition to four-day Test cricket, believing it would pose a logistical challenge to hosting cricket in Pakistan, with fewer daylight hours during the cricket season. Going by history, that would not be especially surprising, given Pakistan often struggled to get 90 overs in a day of Test cricket in the ten years leading up to 2009, prompting the then-PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan to propose six-day Test matches to the ICC in a bid to get around the problem, with former ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed saying they would “seriously consider it”.

“First of all, there is no clarity at this point about how it will be taken forward,” Misbah said. “Will it be 90 overs a day? 96? Maybe 110 overs to compensate for the fifth day? If you look at the conditions in Asia, especially in Pakistan, we barely manage to get 90 overs a day because the cricket season here is mostly during the winter. We don’t get long days in winter, or enough to complete even 90 overs. We lose 10-15 overs a day routinely. If you lose those across a four-day Test, with 360 overs, the match effectively becomes a three-and-a-half-day affair.

“If that’s the case, a lot of teams will become negative - if they fall even slightly behind in a match, they’ll go straight for the draw. The results ratio is already pretty low, that will worsen and people’s interest in Tests will dip. They want results. In a five-day match, even if there’s rain in the middle, there’s still enough time to try and force a result.”

Misbah also highlighted the workload that might come with this change, especially its impact on the fast bowlers. “Another important thing - if you force the workload of five-day cricket into four days, with an increase in overs, then it is very difficult,” he said. “You still get only 11 players in the team. Most teams play with four bowlers. But even if they have five, the workload of 16-17 overs a day on your fast bowlers, or at the most 20, will become even more. So their injury risks will rise. And the quality of their bowling - if you raise the load of a 145-150kph bowler from 18 overs to 25-26, then what will happen? Their quality will be compromised.”

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