New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult is of the opinion that the introduction of four-day Test cricket is not necessary to make the format more appealing. Instead, Boult asked for better pitches that would create a more even contest between bat and ball and make the games more attractive to watch.
The inaugural four-day Test will be played between South Africa and Zimbabwe on Boxing Day, with the ICC approving its trial to run through until the 2019 World Cup. At the time of approving the trial, in October, ICC chief executive David Richardson had pointed out that four-day Tests would be helpful for lower-ranked Test nations and the new teams, Ireland and Afghanistan. Cricket Australia chairman David Peever had said the trial was "very sensible" with fans eager to see results in the format.
"I love Test cricket, so I'd love to see it stay as it always has," Boult was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. "In terms of shortening it to let it become more aggressive, I don't think there's any need. There's other formats for that sort of thing. You want to have an even competition or contest between bat and ball. There's some good wickets going around at the moment and the balls aren't moving, so that's what I'd love to see [a contest] - I wouldn't want it any shorter to encourage aggression."
Boult was speaking after a day of "good fun" against West Indies in Hamilton. Boult and his new-ball partner Tim Southee, added 61 crucial runs for the last wicket, and then combined to take four wickets between them, with each also executing a spectacular catch. Boult's stunner came when he dived to his left to hold on to a return catch offered by Shimron Hetmyer. By stumps, West Indies were still trailing by 158 runs with only two wickets in hand, having already conceded a 0-1 lead in the two-Test series.
When asked if West Indies had not shown enough application with the bat, as they slumped to 215 for 8, Boult said it had not been easy to take wickets.
"I can't talk on behalf of their batsmen but I can tell you for free that they are probably not very happy with being eight down. That's Test cricket - you can put pressure on the best players in the world and they can fail. From our point of view, we are just trying to be as accurate as we can, build enough pressure."
Boult's 61-run partnership with Southee came at a brisk clip, with the pair scoring close to 7.5 an over. Boult was particularly aggressive, hitting five fours and two sixes in his 37 not out off 27 balls.
"Believe it or not, I take a lot of pride in my batting. Any contribution, not just from myself but the lower order, is very pivotal," Boult said. "In terms of the game the first innings is the one where we want to go big and get as many on the board as we can. A combination of runs as well as keeping their bowlers and fielders out there. As a bowler you know when the tail comes out and gets a few away, hits a few boundaries, it can become very frustrating."