England chief Giles hails 'precious' Test format as global union warns against four-day internationals

By Sports Desk January 08, 2020

England director of cricket Ashley Giles has declared five-day Tests a "precious" part of the game, as the global players' union warned dropping a day could lead to "significant resistance".

The prospect of introducing four-day Tests will be discussed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the near future, and South Africa has said it would welcome the move.

Although the England and Wales Cricket Board has said it is "cautiously" backing the concept of the shortened matches, it has recognised it is an "emotive" issue.

Giles may have a greater passion for Test cricket than many of the sport's administrators, having been a Test spinner for England before moving into coaching and management.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday, Giles said: "Anything that helps players and their workloads is good to look at, and anything that takes the game forward is good to look at. But I played Test cricket, I love Test cricket, and if we played four-day cricket I feel we would miss out on a lot of matches like yesterday."

That was a reference to England's gripping fifth-day success in bowling out South Africa in Cape Town to win the second Test on Tuesday and level their series.

"I know a lot of Test matches these days don't go to the fifth day, but it is precious to me certainly and I know it is to the players," Giles said.

"I think it's important we look at everything. But I think it's a decision far from made yet.

"It is our responsibility as guardians of game in this country to look at everything that can both take the game forward and look at the workloads of our players."

The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) has gathered early reaction from far and wide, and issued its response to the growing debate by underlining the concerns of players.

The likes of former Australia captain Ricky Ponting and India great Sachin Tendulkar have already expressed opposition to the idea.

FICA executive chairman Tony Irish said: "From our discussions with players around the world, and our global survey data, it is clear that there is currently a lot of negative sentiment, within the global collective of players, towards such a significant change to the game's most traditional format."

That could hardly have been more blunt, with Irish's statement on FICA's website going on to stress the ICC and national boards must be open about their intentions and motivations, and how cricket might benefit.

"Making a fundamental change simply in order to provide calendar space to fill with additional or meaningless cricket is clearly not something we can support. Cricket's global structure desperately needs clarity, rather than further confusion," Irish said.

"Until such a time as we and the players are provided with the full picture and compelling reasons for change, we remain supportive of five-day Test cricket, and would expect significant player resistance if a shift to that is imposed on players by the ICC and/or boards.

"Test cricket is a cherished format of the game and it needs player support and buy in to survive. We urge those making decisions to understand that."

Related items

  • Australia postpone Afghanistan Test as part of schedule changes Australia postpone Afghanistan Test as part of schedule changes

    Cricket Australia (CA) has announced the one-off Test against Afghanistan and the ODI series against New Zealand have been postponed due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Australia were due to face Afghanistan in the longest format for the first time in Perth in November, but that one-off game will not go ahead as planned. 

    The rescheduled IPL season - which is due to finish in early November - created issues over Australian players quarantining upon their return from the Twenty20 tournament in the United Arab Emirates. 

    New Zealand's limited-overs tour in January 2021 has also been called off amid "the challenges around international travel and quarantine restrictions" caused by the global health pandemic. 

    CA hopes to find new dates for the fixtures in the coming years, with the postponements meaning India will be the only international side to visit Australia during the 2020-21 season.

    "Cricket Australia looks forward to working with our good friends at the Afghanistan Cricket Board and New Zealand Cricket to deliver the matches at a time when, hopefully, the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have eased," CA's interim CEO Nick Hockley said in a statement.

    "We all worked incredibly hard to make the series happen this summer, but the challenges around international travel and quarantine restrictions ultimately convinced all parties that the series would need to be played at a later date.

    "CA looks forward to welcoming the Indian men's team for a full schedule of matches this summer in what promises to be an incredible contest across all three formats.

    "CA would also like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful partners for their understanding and support as we have navigated the complexities of hosting international sport during a pandemic to deliver a thrilling summer across men's and women's cricket at international and domestic level."

    Australia are due to face India in a four-Test series, as well as three one-dayers and a trio of Twenty20 fixtures. Details over the schedule are yet to be confirmed.

  • 'Windies Women paid price for losing intensity' - insists interim coach Coley 'Windies Women paid price for losing intensity' - insists interim coach Coley

    West Indies Women’s interim coach Andre Coley admits the team lost a bit of momentum after losing intensity during its unsuccessful runs chase against England on Wednesday.

    In pursuit of England’s target of 151, the West Indies were at 71 for 1 at around the halfway point of the runs chase.  The team was anchored by a 61 run top-order partnership between captain Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin.

    Once Dottin was dismissed lbw, however, Taylor followed two overs later and a rapid collapse saw the team eventually all out for 104.  In the last 6.1 overs, the team nosedived from 72 for 1, to 96 for 8. 

    “For this format of the game, the intensity is very important. We had that early on with that significant partnership between Deandra and Stephanie of 60-odd that really kept that momentum going,” Colley explained following the match.

    “During that middle period, however, we actually dipped in terms of our intent and moved away from that intensity around scoring boundaries and that obviously led to us losing some momentum toward the end.  We needed to keep going to stay on pace with the required rate,” he added.

    Even before that, however, the team must certainly be regretting not doing a bit better with the ball.  Having reduced England to 96 for 6, they let it slip in the last bowling five overs, and a 150-target was always going to be a tough task.

    "In this game, we were able to pull things back in the middle.  Our spinners did well to pull back in the middle.  The last five overs was really what cost us, they scored 50 runs in the last five and that pushed them past a score we were looking at.”

  • Tendulkar pays tribute to Dean Jones as Langer remembers 'legend of world cricket' Tendulkar pays tribute to Dean Jones as Langer remembers 'legend of world cricket'

    Sachin Tendulkar described Dean Jones as a "wonderful soul" taken too soon and Justin Langer paid tribute to a "legend of world cricket" after the former Australia batsman died aged 59.

    The International Cricket Council said Jones suffered a heart attack in Mumbai, where he was working as a commentator on the Indian Premier League.

    World Cup winner Jones was considered a pioneer in ODI cricket with his attacking approach at the crease, scoring 6,068 runs at an average of 44.61 in 164 matches.

    The Victorian also scored 3,631 runs at an average of 46.55 in 52 Tests and went on to forge a successful career as a commentator and coach after his playing days came to an end.

    Tributes poured in for Jones after it was announced he had died suddenly.

    India great Tendulkar tweeted: "Absolutely heartbreaking news about Dean Jones passing away. A wonderful soul taken away too soon. Had the opportunity to play against him during my first tour of Australia. May his soul rest in peace and my condolences to his loved ones."

    Brian Lara, the former West Indies superstar, added: "I love you too Dean Jones!! You have been a joy and absolute pleasure to work with @StarSportsIndia The world has has lost a real legend and lover of our great game, Cricket. You will be dearly missed by many. RIP my brother. My sincere condolences to the Jones family."

    Australia head coach Langer expressed great sadness over Jones' death.

    "What a great player and a great bloke. We are shocked and very sad to hear of his passing," Langer said.

    "Deano was a true legend of Australian sport and world cricket, one of the great players and personalities in a golden time for the game. His role in the team's World Cup win in 1987 and the 1989 Ashes under AB [Allan Border] were a huge turning point for Australian cricket.

    "His double century [against India] in Madras was one of the greatest and most courageous innings of all time.

    "We can only hope to make Australians as proud of our team as they were of Deano, he will be missed by the game and millions of people around the world. Our love to Jane [his wife] and the girls."

    Darren Lehmann, the former Australia batsman and head coach, tweeted: "Dean Jones will be missed, he taught me so much on and off the ground, I and all of the cricketing world will miss him. Our thoughts are with Jane and the family at this time, lots of love from the lehmanns xx"

    Australia's current limited-overs captain Aaron Finch tweeted: "Still in shock hearing the news of Deano's passing. Thoughts are with Jane and the family at this incredibly tough time. A great man with an amazing passion for the game."

    Kevin Pietersen, the ex-England batsman, posted on social media: "Gutted! Shattered! #RIPDeano."

    Former England spinner Graeme Swann, now working as a commentator, added: "I can’t put into words how numb and shocked I am that Dean Jones isn’t sat next to me today making me laugh with his endless anecdotes and Aussie banter. He was a boyhood hero of mine, an icon of the game and a good friend. RIP Deano."

    Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan posted: "Absolutely Shocked and deeply sad to hear about the sudden demise of @ProfDeano. My condolences to his friends and family. You will be missed #RIP."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.