Miandad wants 5-day Test matches to stay

Javed Miandad opposes any moves to shorten Test matches from five days to four and wants the ICC to stop considering any changes.

updated: July 02, 2009 09:55 IST
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Pakistan great Javed Miandad opposes any moves to shorten Test matches from five days to four and wants the International Cricket Council to stop considering any changes to the duration of the traditional game.

"Don't make cricket a trash," Miandad, who also serves as director general of the Pakistan Cricket Board, told The Associated Press in an interview on Thursday. "Don't kill the charm of Test match cricket."

ICC president David Morgan was quoted in the Indian media as saying the game's governing body was contemplating changes.

"I would be very surprised if within a year you haven't seen more significant changes in Test match cricket," Morgan was quoted saying in the India Today magazine.

Miandad, who played 124 Test matches and scored a Pakistan record 8,832 runs, said a four-day Test would reduce the competitiveness of the conTest and even mediocre teams could force a draw.

"I think even Ireland can survive a four-day Test match and can play out a draw against a good Test side," Miandad said. Ireland is not among the 10 full members of the ICC but has beaten some top teams in the limited-overs arena.

"There will be no difference among mediocre (teams) and an experienced side if we see four-day Test matches."

Miandad said cricket was fast becoming commercialized with the growing popularity of Twenty20 matches _ which are around three hours in duration _ but Test cricket should be enshrined as the pinnacle of international cricket.

"Twenty20 is a tulla (freestyle) cricket and now the ICC wants to convert Test cricket in a similar mold," he said. "Cricket got the name of gentleman's game because of Test matches as it Tested the skills of a real cricketer, don't mix it with other formats of the game."

For Miandad the real Test of cricketer's temperament and technique could only be gauged in a five-day format and any move to cut down number of Test match days "would kill the beauty of the game."

"If a result of Test match comes in three days and the teams play out a draw even in five days, what's the need of reducing the Test match to four days?" Miandad questioned.

Morgan had said Test matches also needed better over rates, plus better pitches that provide an even conTest between batsmen and bowlers. At the moment, teams must bowl 90 overs a day in a Test match and the ICC penalizes teams for bowling anything less unless there's weather interruptions.

"I agree that pitches should be more conducive for both batsmen and bowlers because twenty years ago people used to ask for six-day or seven-day Test matches due to placid wickets."

There have been changes to Test cricket over the years.

Under the original format, there was no limit on the duration of matches, meaning there was almost always a result.

The last of the timeless Tests was in March 1939, between England and South Africa at Durban. After 10 days of play spread over 12 days, the teams agreed to a draw because England had to leave to catch a boat home. The English were 42 runs short of the victory target, having ended the day's play at 654 for five in their second innings.

The ICC is looking at other changes to Test cricket, hoping to make it more appealing to TV audiences. Among the other key ideas is Test cricket at night time.

Miandad suggested the ICC form a committee comprising experienced former Test cricketers to come out with better solutions to promoting Test match cricket.

"That would be a proper platform where experienced (Test) players could give their input and suggest better ways in taking Test cricket forward.

"But this four-day Test match thinking is certainly not the solution."