File photo: India's Murali Vijay bats during the one-off cricket test match against Afghanistan in Bangalore, on June 14, 2018. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is mulling four-day Test matches, along with it’s day-night avatar, to save the traditional format of the game.

Causing concern for the ICC will be the poor turnout for the well-fought first Test match between Australia and Pakistan that concluded at the Dubai International Stadium last week. Geoff Allardice, the ICC General Manager for Cricket, told the media: “If we look at the statistics, the Test matches generally last longer in Asian conditions. When it comes to the number of games going to the fifth day, the proportion is higher in Asia. So some countries look at matches that seldom go into the fifth day.”

"When it comes to the number of games going to the fifth day, the proportion is higher in Asia. So some countries look at matches that seldom go into the fifth day."

 - Geoff Allardice (right) | ICC General Manager for Cricket


Allardice feels four-day Tests may help rising Test nations like Afghanistan and Ireland. In October 2017, the ICC had even approved a four-day Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe. “Test cricket is played over wide range of conditions and I think lot of the countries that came to see how Test cricket would change if it is played over four days. Unfortunately, the only experience we have with it is the South Africa-Zimbabwe (Test match) last year and it only lasted two days,” he said.

In June when Afghanistan took on India in a one-off Test match, it got over in two days with India recording an innings and 262-run win at Bengaluru. “At the moment we are trying to get opportunities for Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe to play Test cricket against some of the teams that are in the World Test Championship. From the fixtures point of view, that often works better over four days than five,” said Allardice, who noted that even New Zealand had played four-day Test matches in the ‘70s.

When Gulf News asked whether any study has been done on whether day-night Test matches had been successful, Allardice said: “Australia is the country which had the most day-night Test matches and they have reported increased viewership. In other territories, we haven’t got much information. They played two day-night matches here, but other than that, it has been the odd match here or there. Hence, we haven’t really got enough information to be able to see a trend in the way that is going.”