Domain Test Series v New Zealand
Ponting joins chorus of disapproval for four-day Tests
Former captain keen to understand reasons behind push to shorten cricket's longest format but sees no need to change
Sam Ferris at the SCG
5 January 2020, 07:56 PM AEST
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is the latest leading voice to air his disapproval of four-day Test matches.
Ponting joins Virat Kohli in expressing their favour for the five-day game in the past 24 hours after the Indian captain said changes to the cricket's longest format should stop at day-night Tests.
Ponting fears a reduction in days from five to four would increase the number of drawn Tests, with one in five Tests resulting in a stalemate last decade.
However, in Australia between 2010 and 2019, 43 Test matches ended in a result, with 38 of those finishing inside 392 overs which would finish within a four-day Test.
Test greats Shane Warne, Mark Taylor and Michael Vaughan are advocates of four-day Tests, while current players Tim Paine, Travis Head and Nathan Lyon – who called the concept "ridiculous" – are not in favour of the shake-up.
But as far as Ponting is concerned, there is no need to change Test cricket which has seen record numbers come through the gates this Australian summer.
"I'm against it but I'd like to hear from the people who are pushing it what the major reason is," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"I know we've had a lot of four-day games the last couple of years but what I've noticed in the last decade is how many drawn Test matches there have been, and I just wonder if they had have been all four-day Test matches through that period of time would we have had more drawn games.
"That's one thing I don't think anybody wants to see.
"I understand there is a commercial side to it, saving money and things like that and how they would start on a Thursday to finish on Sunday.
"I'd like to hear the other reasons behind it. I don't understand it enough and I'm very much a traditionalist, so if something's not really badly broken then why do we need to fix it or change it?"
Four-day Tests have been trialled by the ICC since 2017, with a four-day Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe in 2017 followed by England and Ireland last year at Lord's.
Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said CA will "seriously" look at four-day Tests, with next summer's clash against Afghanistan a chance to be a four-day game.
Ponting is part of the MCC World Cricket Committee, a group of former international cricketers which meets biannually to discuss the state of the game and suggest changes to the laws of cricket to remain fresh and keep in touch with advancing technology.
But Ponting says four-day Test cricket has previously been raised among the committee and was voted down.
"Let's wind the clock back two, three years ago, it was being discussed then," Ponting said.
"I know we had a vote at one of the meetings about putting a proposal forward to changing it and the overriding decision there was that we wanted to keep it as five days.
"Everyone will say the Test match game is badly broken because a lot of countries around the world aren't getting much attendance to the games.
"We're certainly lucky here in Australia and England that we do get good solid crowds for the Test match games played over five days.
"My overall opinion is leave it the way it is and it seems to be working pretty well at the moment."
Domain Test Series v New Zealand
Australia squad: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson
New Zealand: Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson (c)
First Test: Australia won by 296 runs
Second Test: Australia won by 247 runs
Third Test: January 3-7, SCG (Seven, Fox & Kayo)