Former cricketer believes that increasing overs in a day can result in career-threatening injuries to bowlers
Pakistan’s head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq does not endorse the idea of reducing Test matches to four-day affairs and warned administrators against tinkering too much with the purest format of the game.
The International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body of the sport, is set to reflect on the idea of making Test matches four-day affairs to free up a crammed international calendar and reduce player workload.
While speaking about the aforementioned proposal, the 45-year-old said that four-day Tests in Asian countries can lead to more drawn matches.
“There is no clarity around four-day Tests right now. We don’t know whether there will be 90 overs or 96 overs in a day. Maybe there will 110 overs to compensate for the fifth day,” said Misbah. “If you look at Test matches in Pakistan, it’s already difficult to complete 90 overs in a day as our season is in winter when the light fades early. As a result, there is a chance of overs getting wasted, which can lead to teams getting in a negative mindset as they might play for a draw.”
“People want to see results in a Test match, so you need five days to get maximum results in Test cricket. Even if it rains, you have time to cover the lost overs in five-day Test,” he added.
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Former cricketer also believes that increasing overs in a day can result in career-threatening injuries to bowlers.
“If you increase overs in a day in four-day Test, then it will be very difficult on players. Most teams play with only four bowlers. So the workload on bowlers will increase as they will have to bowl more overs in a day, which can lead to injury,” he said. “A pacer who bowls around 150 kp/h, would not be able to maintain the same intensity as his speed will be compromised.”
“People want to see quality cricket. They want to see Mitchell Starc or Naseem Shah bowling at full throttle, so that they enjoy their spell. Such workload can shorten their career due to injuries,” he added.
Misbah also cited the example of his last Test match to argue his case for a five-day Test match.
“Four-day Test will not allow the same wear and tear on the pitch as five-day Test,” he said. “The fifth day in a Test has a different beauty. The thrill of the Test going into last day makes it interesting. Even my last Test match against West Indies went into the fifth day and was decided in the last few overs, which made it a memorable match.”
Misbah added that Pakistan players will now have to maintain their fitness level in off season as well.
"We have eradicated the concept of no training in off season. Now players will be giving fitness tests after every two months," he said. "Earlier we use to have our own standards of fitness test but now we've matched it with international standards."