South Africa vs England 2019-20, South Africa Cricket Team, Faf du Plessis
South Africa celebrate a wicket. Credit: BCCI

After England and Wales Cricket Board backed ICC’s proposal for four-day World Test Championship matches from 2023, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has extended full support for the Test games being played over four days rather than five.

The cricket governing body had recently released a statement on Tuesday morning in reply to a story in the Daily Mail newspaper in the UK, which described that CSA would be against an International Cricket Council (ICC) proposal to make four-day Tests compulsory for the 2023-2031 cycle.

Faf du Plessis, South Africa vs England 2019/20
South Africa celebrate a wicket. Credit: Getty Images

The article mentioned that England and Australia would face opposition from Cricket South Africa if they endorse the proposal, which will be soon discussed by the ICC Cricket Committee this year.

The report further stated that CSA felt four-day Tests would pose a serious threat to spinners while adding that this format would make it less entertaining. “would make draws more likely, encourage negative tactics and pose a threat to spin bowlers. South Africa also play fewer Tests than England, so have less need to create space in the calendar”.

We support four-day Test match cricket: CSA

But, Cricket South Africa denied the story on Tuesday, saying in a brief statement: “In view of an unsourced and misleading report in the Media this morning please be advised that it is Cricket South Africa’s official policy to support four-day Test match cricket,” it said.

A four-day Test match was last played between England and Ireland in July 2019. It should be noted that South Africa and Zimbabwe also played the four-day format once in the year 2017. Four-day games were sanctioned by the apex cricket body in 2017 but in elite level, the format has been limited to matches between the major powers and less established countries.

ICC World Test Championship
South Africa celebrate victory over England. Credit: Getty Images

“We, in fact, hosted the first official four-day Test match between ourselves and Zimbabwe a couple of years ago,” CSA added.

In what was a day-night encounter in December 2017 at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth between South Africa and Zimbabwe which lasted just two days, Proteas won the game by an innings and 120 runs.

Aiden Markram was the pick of the batsmen for Proteas as he top-scored with 125 runs while Morné Morkel and Keshav Maharaj bagged five-wicket hauls apiece.

Though ECB and CSA have backed ICC’s proposal of staging four-day Tests, many others feel that it is a conspiracy against Asian countries. However, ICC cricket committee will discuss this in future as ICC and member boards look for options in order to free up a hectic international schedule which will also cut down player workload. If things go as per the plan, then ICC administrators would make use of the time for shorter formats.

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