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  • ICC chief suggests four-day Tests

    David Morgan, the ICC president, has hinted that Test cricket may be reduced to four days to protect and enrich the game's oldest format in the face of lucrative Twenty20 leagues like the IPL. The suggestion comes in the wake of a few other changes that are being mooted, including a two-tier format and day-night Tests to attract more crowds.

    "Another thought that many people have, that we are examining is whether Test match cricket can be played over four days rather than five," Morgan told the India Today magazine. "I would be very surprised if within a year you haven't seen some significant changes in Test match cricket."

    Morgan felt it wouldn't be too difficult for players to make a mental shift from five days to four. He added that Test cricket needed many more adjustments, and that special cricket balls would have to be made to facilitate night Tests in white clothing.

    "We need better over-rates, better pitches that give a good balance between bat and ball and we need to consider day-night Test cricket," Morgan said. "There is great support for it, the issue is the colour of the ball and the quality of the ball. It would be a pity if Test match cricket - day-night - had to be played with a white ball and therefore coloured clothing.

    "We are looking very closely at ball manufacturing design that replicates a red ball, maybe an orange ball, a ball that could still allow us to play in white clothing and still at night."

    The two-tier structure was recently mooted by Dave Richardson, the ICC general manager for cricket, to divide the stronger and weaker teams and make the format more competitive. The ICC has also given the go ahead for the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) from October following trials in specific series over the last year. Umpires will have greater scope to decide on bad-light interruptions and the penalities for slow over-rates have also been increased.

    With so much emphasis on Twenty20 and the enrichment of Test cricket, Morgan was very confident of the survival of the 50-over game in its current form, now with batting Powerplays and free-hits added to spice it up. He also defended the presence of the Champions Trophy in an already crowded calendar, despite calls for it to be scrapped.

    The Champions Trophy, in South Africa in September, now features only the top eight teams and is a shorter tournament compared to previous editions.

    "It will be played over a shorter period and we are certain it will rejuvenate the Champions Trophy brand," he said. "The brand needed polishing, rejuvenating, it needed remodeling and this event will be a very, very exciting and successful event I'm sure. It will be the event that will give fifty overs cricket its profile back, give it a boost without a doubt."

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