Thakur opposed to four-day Tests

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BCCI president, Anurag Thakur, has rejected the idea of four-day Tests as well as the proposed moved to restructure Test cricket into a two-tier system.

The president believes that what really needs to be looked at is the falling attendances at Test cricket, as this is the root of the format’s problems.

Thakur told ESPNcricinfo: “If you don’t have a foolproof format in front of you, where is it going to help the game of cricket? I think we should not even [get into] into that,

“It is four day versus five day, it is two-tier as well,

“We should analyse the shortcomings [of Test cricket],” he said. “Is it the paucity of time? The issue is why aren’t you getting enough crowd for a Test match? That is the basic issue.”

Thakur believes cricket is struggling to compete with other sports due to the length of time it takes to complete cricket matches and the amount of other sports now available to watch and participate in.

The BCCI president continued: “Ask yourself: football, how much time does it take to finish the game? Hockey, how much time does it take? American football, rugby.

“Fans, on one hand, have these kind of games which are finished in two hours time at the most; cricket’s shortest format, it takes close to three, three and a half hours. So that is one reason,

“Second, there is a generational gap I believe. We must look into the crowd which comes in England, Australia or in India.

“What is the average age who comes to watch Test cricket. India is a young country. We have a lot of youngsters. Whether they connect with T20, ODI or Test, you can’t force the fan.

“It is the fan who has to decide what he wants to see. You can give all the products, he is the best judge whether he has interest in A, B or C. So we are playing all formats. Let’s see which is the most watchable product.”

Thakur also indicated India want to properly trial the pink ball, before committing to any day/night Test cricket in India.

The BCCI is currently running trials in the Duleep trophy, with Thakur adding: “This is one of the tournaments where we are trying the pink ball,

“We’ll take the feedback after the tournament is completed. Once it is completed, BCCI can take a call in future whether pink ball is viable in Indian conditions or not, whether it will help to make Test cricket more popular.

“We have a long season at home where we are hosting New Zealand, England and Australia [and Bangladesh] for Test matches, playing 13 Test matches at home and we have already finished four [away] with West Indies.

“So 17 Test matches in a season is a huge, huge period. When globally most countries are not playing enough Test cricket, BCCI is sticking to it, trying to make it as popular as other formats and we’ll try our best.”