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07 February 2020 12:45

But do you think the West Indies should play more Test cricket?

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Four-day Tests could be game-changing if they are structured right

In 2009, the ICC chief then, David Morgan, told reporters that the ICC was examining "whether Test match cricket can be played over four days rather than five". A full decade later, the question of reforming Test cricket by reducing the contest to four days has risen again, and arguments for and against it go to the very core of what we hold dear in this game. Test cricket has to find a place for itself in today's world. This will not be achieved by looking down at the world for not grasping the brilliance of Test cricket as we know it today. New Zealand and South Africa played three- or four-day Tests against England, as did India.

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India played Pakistan in three series in the 1950s and '60s, and only the last of those were of five-day Tests. Veteran observers like Harsha Bhogle have long called for the Indian Test match season to be aligned properly with the winter holiday season, taking into account Diwali, Pongal, Christmas and all the other times when people get time off work. All this suggests that what Test cricket essentially offers is the unlimited overs, four-innings contest. It cannot be right to start playing a Test match at 10am on Wednesday, when most are likely to be at work. It would also fit neatly into the working week, with the Test starting on Thursday afternoon and finishing on Sunday night, with the so-called "moving days" guaranteed to be on the weekend.

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If you have the bandwidth, here's another hot take on four-day Tests: they're actually just a distraction from far bigger, far more complicated issues surrounding the calendar of cricket 2023 onwards. The more pressing matter then might be finalising the playing conditions for the ODI World Cup Super League, which starts from May. Even if the four-day Test proposal is tabled, the chances it gets passed don't look great, given the overwhelmingly disapproving tone players have struck. And twice in the past cricket has essentially said no to four-day Tests. ALSO READ: Sidharth Monga: Don't dismiss the idea of four-day Test cricket Better yet, think of the talk about four-day Tests as part of a much larger, broader conversation about what cricket will look like post-2023. ALSO READ: What the players think about four-day Tests The PSL directly precedes the IPL: another six weeks in which Pakistan's players don't play international cricket.

Members still want to play more Tests. That's the reason the all-rounder cites for opting out of playing franchise-based cricket around the world – for now. Holder, who has featured in 40 Tests, 108 One-Day Internationals and 17 Twenty20 Internationals, adds that the West Indies side has the ability to be the No. 1 team in the world. At a time when most of your teammates are busy playing T20 leagues across the globe, you have kept yourself out of those and have been leading the West Indies in Test cricket... I had a pretty good domestic T20 competition, particularly with the ball, and I just really want to build back into international T20 cricket to hopefully earn a spot for the T20 World Cup. But like I said, I enjoy playing Test cricket and I have made sacrifices to play Test cricket. I have still got more years in international cricket and I do want to hop around and play the leagues. Trying to understand Test cricket takes a while. I am very close to Clive Lloyd and he had once said that it took him three years to understand the dynamics of Test cricket. I have been playing for couple of years and I am only now grasping to know what it takes to be a Test cricketer. To be fair, we have got some quality players, we just need some time to understand the game. I've been playing lots of cricket. I think if you have a fresh mind, it makes playing cricket a lot easier and it is not more of a physical burden as it already is, to be fair. But do you think the West Indies should play more Test cricket? I just think that we would love to play more Test cricket. Unfortunately, situations aren't there for us to play more Test cricket. We are not as fortunate as England or Australia or India, who definitely have the financial backing to facilitate playing more Test cricket. I would always encourage us to play more Test cricket, but I understand the challenges that we are faced with. Some players who I probably started with at the same time have got double the amount of Test games I have played. But again, it's something beyond my control, and whenever I do get the opportunity to play Test cricket, I make the most of it. In Test cricket, everybody is talking about playing with the pink ball. It's Test cricket for a reason. I love them, I love playing Test cricket with them.