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Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has criticised the idea of four-day Tests, saying it could lead to players, especially bowlers, suffering career-threatening injuries.
Misbah pointed out that if Test matches are reduced to four days, the bowlers will have to bowl more overs every day, which will put added strain and pressure on their bodies.
He added that the format will be adversely impacted if days are lost due to rain and bad light as with only four days available, it could lead to more matches ending as draws.
“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,” Misbah was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan. “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.
“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. A pacer who bowls around 150 kph, 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.”
“Four-day Test will not allow the same wear and tear on the pitch as five-day Test. 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.”