Former captains dismiss Boycott plan December 1, 2007

Don't change Test format - Waugh

Cricinfo staff



Steve Waugh: "There's a real danger of Test cricket not having many spectators watching it" © Getty Images

Steve Waugh has rejected the call from Geoff Boycott to cut Tests to four days and says the format should not be tinkered with. Boycott suggested the alterations because "the pace of life has changed", but Waugh said people enjoyed watching a contest evolve over five days.

"It's like a game of chess, it's a great game of tactics, it's a battle mentally as well, so to cut it short would be to change the game of Test cricket," he said in the Australian. "And that's the essence of cricket: Test cricket."

Waugh said players were judged on how they performed in the longer form. "So let's not tinker with that, you can tinker with the other forms of the game, but Test cricket should stay the way it is," he said. "If someone can win a Test match in three days then that provides entertainment, but some of the best games I played went right down to the wire in five days and there wasn't a result."

Richie Benaud, who was with Waugh at the SCG to unveil a painting of the best New South Wales team, said there was no reason to change. "As soon as you push Test cricket to one side and concentrate only on limited-overs cricket, then people will get jack of it very quickly," he said.

Waugh said it was important in the current climate to encourage the "culture of Test cricket". "There's a real danger of Test cricket not having many spectators watching it," he said. "Australians are lucky, they've got a very successful side and I think success brings in the spectators.

"In some of the subcontinent countries they're really focused on one-day cricket. Let's get back to focusing on Test cricket, to tell people great stories about Test cricket, to get families to go and watch the game again because it has such a great history and tradition."

Waugh expected there would be large crowds during India's four-Test series, which begins in Melbourne on Boxing Day. "It will be a good contest, they've got a very experienced side and they'll take it to Australia a bit," he said. "As Sreesanth has shown, they're not going to back down, so they're going to be aggressive, which is good. Australia responds to that type of cricket and plays really well. Australia want sides to challenge and India have the capability of doing that."

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