I am not a traditionalist or conservative, neither am bothered about records and history, but here is something like to share on Test cricket- and maybe ICC and other cricketing board and their administrative can look into.
All of a sudden experts are talking about shortening Test match to 4 days- with possible 100 overs per day. I disagree totally, and my reasons are not based on records, statistics, history- It is simple skills of cricketers.
Resolution for 5 day Test match
1) one can reduce the stipulated overs bowled per day from 90 to 80/85 -viz 400/425 overs per Test match played in 5 days, instead of 100 overs for 4 days of test match. Here one can have drinks break every 45 minutes instead of 60 and not too many in-between breaks for players.
2) I firmly believe data will show that the fifth day becomes more exiting and entertaining(for those who feel sport is an entertainment and nothing else) as game reaches its climax.
3) There should be a mandatory of minimum 3 Test between all Test playing nation, irrespective when and where they play.
4) Overall non-results or Drawn Test matches have been reduced drastically. Since 2000 only 25% of Test matches ended without having any result, and if one has to observe closely, than most of these Tests were closely fought eventually ending in a draw.
a) Surface and ball condition: I am aware that recently(all countries) balls have been replaced regularly. There is a debate on brands which is based on type of surface they play. Here I feel, like One day cricket, Test cricket can also be played with two balls from each end. The new ball than can be taken after the 90th over instead of 80th over. If the ball condition goes bad in middle, than do replace them(with similar number of overs that has been bowled). I am sure there is enough balls provided for Test match.
b) Constrain bat size to uniformity. Bat size, small, big and large will have same width, mass and height.
c) Lately pitches all over the world (especially Australia and certain month in England)pitches have become easier to bat from the onset, and teams are able to score runs freely. The increase in batting average and run-rate justifies this fact. However at same time, there is also decrease in balls per wicket, suggesting bowlers are taking less balls to pick wickets, and batsmen are playing Test match with more freedom and not constrained to “correct technique”!!.
6) I totally concur with day-night Test cricket. The weather is much pleasant post 3 pm in all cricket playing nation. It will allow balance to all skills(bowling, fielding and batting). Also allow week-day working crowd to attend regularly. One can stop reducing the boundary line and make 70-yard as mandatory for all Test playing nation, here I am sure they would find enough space to do that.
7) Ticket price: At this stage, I believe gate price of a Test match is very high in all nation. It should be reduced and allow free entrance on day 5 irrespective of Test’s outcome. Similar to airlines, and hotel bookings, one can have reduced rates for early bookings, and throw-in freebees, discount coupons for next Test, and variable for ODIs/T20I
Predicament in abbreviated Test matches(less than 5 days)
1) A 4 day test match will influence teams to withdraw from achieving any result. If they sniff losing the game, they will shut the door of taking any chance of winning and become ultra-defensive. Not suggesting teams are not doing the same now…however 5 day is great enough for any result to come out.
2) First Innings score and first inning “batting for long time” becomes the most important aspect of Test cricket. Teams who are defensive in nature will bat for 2 or more days, so that they don’t have to bat again. This theory becomes more apparent if they are 1-0 up in the series. This will take away the beauty of “comeback wins” that Test Cricket is so famous for!. The uniqueness lies in this complexity when both teams have a chance of winning or losing at the same time, which no sport has, this seesaw situation which we all have witnessed over the years, hence its only played by few nations.
3) I don’t have any data to back up, but most definite of this fact that most Test match results are developed at end of day four leading to last day(the 5th day). If you reduce a Test match to 4 days, than I don’t think teams will take any chance of winning. It would bit similar to domestic cricket without any points, and we would see rise in non-result Tests.
4) Experts feel by reducing Test match to 4 days – they are creating an evolution!. I feel it is more like “drowning man clinging on to a snake to survive”. At same time I am not worried about tradition of 5-day-Test match, but believe it to be a test of character for 22 cricketers to play for 5days!. This is not available in any sport.
I thank you all for taking your time and reading my views.