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England extend support to four-day Tests
Four-Day Test Matches

England extend support to four-day Tests

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has backed the ICC proposal of mandatory four-day Tests that could be introduced in the third cycle of the World Test Championship starting 2023.

An ECB spokesperson told British newspaper Daily Telegraph that four-day Test matches could reduce the players' busy schedules and save days from the cricketing calendar.

"We believe it could provide a sustainable solution to the complex scheduling needs and player workloads we face as a global sport," he said.

"We're definite proponents of the four-day Test concept, but cautiously so, as we understand it's an emotive topic for players, fans and others who have concerns about challenging the heritage of Test cricket."

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts has also welcomed the idea of four-day Tests, currently restricted to games outside the World Test Championship, and said it was "something that we have got to seriously consider".

In order for four-day Tests to replace the five-day format from 2023, it would need to be approved by the ICC's cricket committee in 2020 and then voted through by the chief executive's board, which comprises of representatives from member nations.

"One of our top priorities is to underpin a healthy future for Test cricket while we continue to build accessible ways for new fans to enjoy our sport," the ECB spokesperson claimed.

"We are strongly behind a thorough and considered consultation where all opinions are explored."

Tony Irish, the head of Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, voiced his concerns over the possibility of freed up days through four-day games resulting in the arrangement of another global event thus defeating the primary purpose.

"It would take pressure off the schedule but our concern would be that the ad hoc way the schedule currently works and that countries would simply plug in more cricket into the time freed up," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"If introduced, it therefore has to be part of a more coherent structure.

"In the past, many players have been against a change to four days but it would also be important for players to understand any benefits of time freed up.

"Unfortunately, with the ICC there is a history of introducing these types of changes in an unstructured way.

"That would need to change if there is to be any player buy-in."