Four-day Test cricket makes no sense

An idea has been floated that Tests could be shortened to four days. The reasoning seems to be that everyone’s much busier these days, so cricket has to respond.

Firstly, people are busy doing what, exactly? Busy wasting all the extra free time generated by all the millions of labour-saving devices they possess? Busy with work – a relatively modern invention? Busy with their family and friends, which have of course only become popular in the last decade or so? Busy in traffic maybe – we’ll give you that one.

People aren’t busy; they’re dicking about pretending they’re busy; making out that the mundane, pointless errands they’re running are of earth-shattering importance when they clearly – clearly –  aren’t.

And if they are busy, why would a Test match having fewer but longer days be any more appealing to them? Is the problem that people often have four consecutive free days but not five? Are people unwilling to commit to that fifth day for some hard-to-discern reason?

If you’re going to shorten a game of cricket to suit these supposedly modern attention spans, do it properly. Make the game last a single day. Make it last 40 overs if you really want to go all in.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need something different for all the people who aren’t satisfied with a match being done and dusted in a day. The longer this new format is, the better – because the duration and epic nature of the contest will be its unique selling points.

We actually have nothing against four-day Tests in any practical sense. We just don’t understand the reasoning. You wouldn’t make the Tour de France 20 stages instead of 21 in a bid to make it more popular. Is there a recognised phenomenon where the majority of people in the world only have a four-day attention span?

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15 Appeals

  1. Timeless tests on flat feather-bed pitches are clearly the solution.

    Just imagine, the 2010 Brisbane test would still be going on as Cook just ignored all imperatives to up his strike rate, Strauss refused to even countenance even the least sporting of declarations and Trott excavated a 6 foot hole from obsessively marking his guard.

  2. Wise words indeed, KC.

    Even worse than the four day test idea is the “revert to three day county championship matches” idea, to help solve the fixture congestion problem.

    I’d write more on this subject, but I am far too busy.

    Just as you, KC, seem to be far too busy to check your e-mail. Or at least too busy to rummage through the junk folder, where my e-mails and submissions seem automatically to go these days! Are you trying to tell me something?

  3. Surely the point of this suggestion is so administrators and chief executives don’t lose money when Tests fail to go into a fifth day.

    Also: there are so many problems to be sorted out in cricket at the moment and what are we reading about? Whether they should scrap the toss and the relevance of the fifth day.

    Head, meet desk.

  4. Wait, were KC not advocating 3 day tests recently to force the result? We could still have 1 day test cricket if the pitch is suitably prepared.

  5. Are 4 day Tests being seriously considered at the moment, or is this just a bit of diversion so that other things slip under the radar while Right Thinking People are busy bayoneting a straw man?

    The idea has been floating around for ages, although admittedly the new-ish ECB chairman is a fan.

    As Sam has already said, there are clearly bigger priorities for cricket as a whole than this.

  6. 24hr cricket. Day-Night.

    Enough time for 4 ‘days’ of cricket if you have one extended session.

  7. Attention spans these days are getting much

  8. Surely this would lead to more draws, which no-one really wants to see?

  9. Stormin' Turd Dancer

    December 8, 2015 at 8:05 am

    We (and it’s all about me) have endured the introduction of T20 cricket. We have accepted no return to timeless tests. We love the fact that in the UK you can occasionally get to a test match on spec on the last day without having to shell out a small fortune for a ticket. We love that some of the greatest tests ever have developed into a thrilling win/loss/draw/ tie (for Ged) on the 5th day.

    Why the f**k would one (that’s all you w*nkers administering the game) look to reduce the standard test down to 4 days?

  10. Stormin' Turd Dancer

    December 8, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Oh, and confiscate those bloody light meters…

  11. if this means that instead of a minimum of 2 test matches of 5-days each, we will instead have atleast 3 matches of 4-days each in EVERY series then I am fine with this change

    • King Cricket

      December 8, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      Think it’s more about clearing space than clearing space to fit in a decent enough number of matches.

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