Editorials 14.10.2017 05:40 am

Jury is still out on four-day cricket Tests

Dean Elgar continued his excellent form with a half-century. Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP.

Dean Elgar continued his excellent form with a half-century. Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP.

Attendance at Test cricket has dipped since the start of T20s, but it still remains the flagship of the sport.

It is essential that authorities always strive to find new ways to move with the times to ensure their various sporting codes remain relevant. Innovation has saved many sports.

Just look at the review system in cricket, goal-line video technology in football, or even eliminating the offside rule in field hockey.

Embracing those innovations has certainly helped that particular sport stay up to date. The decision to implement these brave ideas has also stopped the howlers.

You can’t have a massive global audience seeing a shocker from an umpire or referee. It’s unfair on the teams, individuals and the official. In the case of hockey, it has made the sport far more entertaining. But there are some things that should not be changed just for the sake of change.

Yesterday the International Cricket Council (ICC) gave its members permission to trial four-day cricket Tests, as long as both teams involved are happy with the arrangement.

South Africa and Zimbabwe will play a four-day Test from Boxing Day in Port Elizabeth. India had originally been pencilled in to play that fixture, but a late change in schedule left a gaping hole in SA’s fixture list on one of their marquee dates, and in stepped Zimbabwe.

Sure, attendance at Test cricket has dipped since the start of T20s, but it still remains the flagship of the sport… the ultimate test of skill.

Battling it out over five days is what makes Test cricket so tough. You can’t have a lapse in concentration for one minute.

Also, some of the most exciting Test matches have gone down to the wire of late, which isn’t possible if they were a day shorter.

Both Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis and his deputy Dean Elgar have said they are not in favour of four-day Tests. They won’t be the only ones against it.

It’s a bold move, but only time will tell if it is the right one.

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