Channel Nine commentators Ian Healy and Mark Taylor.
Channel Nine commentators Ian Healy and Mark Taylor. Gareth Copley

Taylor calls for shorter Test matches

CRICKET: Former Australian captain Mark Taylor wants to see Test matches shortened in an effort to save the format.

But before you say "we've already done that” with 50-over matches and now, of course, the latest craze, Twenty20, Taylor wants just a day slashed from the longest form of the game.

Now a Cricket Australia board member and Channel Nine commentator, Taylor says four days would fit into the ideal scheduling with games beginning Thursday and running, potentially, to Sundays.

"I think we need to have stuff like the day-night Test matches and even start thinking more seriously about four-day games of Test cricket because it will only add to the appeal of the game and, like all games, make it a bit shorter and a bit faster,” Taylor said on SEN radio.

"That's what people of this generation want to see ... I think straight away you obviously have one less day to win or lose or draw a game so it does force captains into being a little bit more aggressive in their thinking.”

Taylor's comments follow those of former teammate Shane Warne, who tweeted yesterday that Test cricket was "becoming boring for the fans”.

Taylor added: "What we're trying to do is still appeal to those traditionalists like me who love their Test cricket, but also bring some of these kids and families that are coming into the game through T20 to get them into Test matches as well.

"I'm not sure if the old five-day Test matches are going to appeal to them.

"You can play Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so you've got your Test match finishing on a Sunday rather than sometimes on a Monday or a Tuesday, which happens in the schedule now.

"Then you get your three days' break as the players now seem to like between Test matches and you can start another one on the next Thursday. It actually fits into the week very well.”

Taylor also expressed his thoughts on the Australian cricket team as it prepares for its three-match Test series against South Africa, starting on Thursday.

"It's the batting that we have to keep looking at. I think we've got to make sure that these batsman we bring in also bring in a second skill,” he said.

"If it's not bowling it's good fielding because I think good fielding, as it has been for years in Test cricket, has been a real benchmark for how your side's going.

"If you look at the West Indies in the '70s and '80s, they were the best fielding side and the world's best team. In the '90s and the 2000s, Australia were the best fielding side and we were the best team.

"I think we need to get back to that sort of ethos. Bring in young cricketers who can bat, sure, but also field, catch, create run-outs and keep energy up in the field.”

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