There is a huge differenceI don"t see a problem. If it was ok to change from timeless tests to 5 days then there is no problem changing to 4 days .
One solved a logistical problem and this one will hopefully solve a financial problem. Neither are pure cricketing reasons.There is a huge difference
Timeless tests were impossible to schedule an itinerary around. Teams had to abandon games because they had to catch a ship back home. Not only that, but with no end in sight you got ridiculously slow scoring games and negative tactics. Cricket became a battle of attrition.
Limiting timeless tests to a fixed number of days solved two massive problems. Sure 5 days was a bit of an arbitrary number, but that was the number that was set and that's the number of days we have played since
Cutting from 5 to 4 doesn't solve any problems or improve the game in any way. It's a purely financial decision
In other words even more batsman oriented. Scoring rates have been very high in Australia recently but that hasn't made the matches interesting.If other rules remain the same, we will see quicker scoring rates and more declarations in the 3rd innings because teams do want to win.
That would suck beyond belief.Perhaps they are building towards a 4 day format where each side gets to play 2 days of 90 overs each. 1st and 3rd for the team batting first and 2nd and 4th for the team batting second.
According to Charles Davies's figures, they got through about 110 overs per (5-hour) day, except day 2, when it presumably rained at some point.There's a big difference between timeless matches and five day tests, although perhaps less so with six day tests. The toss was even more important because an uncovered pitch would almost always only get worse, and people would take extreme safety first tactics in the first innings. Run rates even in very big innings are astonishingly low. Wally Hammond's 251 at Sydney was scored off 605 balls, and the whole innings of 636 took nearly 273 overs, at 2.33 rpo. Only 5 of 30 individual innings in the first three innings struck above 50.
While three or four day tests in England saw over rates up to 130 a day, which would reduce the boring factor considerably, that match didn't even have that - the Australian innings on the last day closed at half past one so I'd say that there were less than 100 overs a day on average in that match.
What annoys me is that true innovations like day night tests, which truly can draw some audiences to test cricket need to be embraced and made more and more common now since it's proven to work as a format. Almost every D/N test so far has been excellent to watch. And instead, the boards sit around making short sighted cost saving decisions.Wanting to be able to achieve a result instead of abandoning the game is as much a cricketing reason as it is a logistical one. And I don't think there is anything wrong with decisions made for logistical purposes. It's why I was on board with the idea of a 4 day Test between SA and Zimbabwe. It's when the cricket takes a back seat to money that it bothers me.
The advantage of a 5 day (or 6 day or even 4 day) test vs a timeless one isn't simply run rates. When you limit the game to a fixed amount of time, it gives sides an option of a draw. This means there is more incentive to be aggressive in an attempt to get ahead in the game, because if you mess up and fall behind, you can always cling on till the clock runs out. In a timeless test, you cannot do that. There is no clinging on and fighting till a draw. If you fall behind you either need a massive rearguard effort, or you're done. Cricket improved massively when tests were capped at a certain number of days because now sides were emboldened to actively chase a victory vs playing it safe simply waiting for the other side to **** up first.
The lack of discipline in a timeless test is a great point too. If you have all the time in the world, you have no urgency to actually get through your overs quickly. It's like playing chess without a timer. The introduction of mandatory over-rates with penalties for not complying has been great for the game. It makes it a lot more spectator friendly, and stops it from being merely a battler of attrition.
Reducing a game from 5 days to 4 days doesn't actually add anything to the sport. Sure it may make teams bat more aggressively, bowl more aggressively, and more overs in a day is good for the spectator. But none of these were issues that absolutely had to be addressed. And the fact that the ECB hasn't even cited these as possible reasons for why they are proposing this is already enough evidence that this idea has no cricketing merit.
It's a cash grab, plain and simple. Putting money ahead of the sport. We lose money on the 5th day, cricket no longer earns money to survive but survives to earn money, so we cut the 5th day. It's why domestic cricket all around the world is getting chopped up and shaken up in order to make it more 'profitable', it's why we get T20 leagues everywhere, and it's why smaller nations and teams get no game time. Because the sport is now a money making venture, whereas once it existed simply for the sake of sport with any money earned off it being secondary.
It's sad and disgusting.
Of course it will though, right? It's a whole less day you have to pay all the staff for. Whether it translates to increase profit is another matter, but it will undoubtedly save cost significantly.As I pointed out earlier, I dont really think it will save costs even in the short term...