England and Wales Cricket Board 'cautiously' supports four-day Tests

ECB chief Tom Harrison has overseen the launch of The Hundred, a new format for the domestic game

The England and Wales Cricket Board “cautiously” supports four-day Tests as a possible way of easing the strain on players and the international schedule.

The International Cricket Council will consider the Test calendar beyond 2023 in January with a one-day reduction in match length likely to be discussed.

“We’re definite proponents of the four-day Test concept but cautiously so,” said an ECB spokesperson.

The ECB added it may help “complex scheduling” and “player workloads”.

The governing body admitted, though, that the change to four-day Tests would be controversial.

“We understand it’s an emotive topic for players, fans and others who have concerns about challenging the heritage of Test cricket,” it added.

It is estimated the change would free up around 40 days a year in the international schedule.

England played a four-day Test against Ireland last summer which ended on day three. Each playing day was extended by 30 minutes to allow for 98 overs to be bowled rather than the standard 90.

“I think it is a real shame Test cricket is dying, but there is no doubt that it is,” former England batsman Nick Compton told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I guess in the time we live we are focused on Twenty20 cricket and the shorter formats of the game, and let’s face it – the game is only getting shorter.

“Test matches are not surviving five days, so I can understand where the push for it has come from, but I think it is a shame.

“I think it is an indictment on the game and where the development and focus has been. Players’ skills are perhaps not there, the big scores are not happening, the scores are not as high and the games are not lasting the distance.

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“As a player I think it is a shame, but the governing bodies will have to assess it from a financial point of view.”


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