England and India players pour scorn on notion of a timeless Test
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat had suggested the idea, which places no time constraints on players and allows for an open-ended match, for the final of the innovative 2013 tournament. "No chance, five days is plenty," England spinner Graeme Swann told a news conference ahead of the first of four Tests against India starting at Lord's tomorrow. "We get enough stick from the Americans coming over saying 'oh my God you play for five days'."
India batsman Rahul Dravid reckoned his team's bowlers would also complain about tiredness. "I wouldn't mind a good flat deck," he joked. "Not sure the bowlers are going to be queueing up for that contest."
The last timeless Test was between South Africa and England in Durban in 1939. The match lasted nine days but was called a draw because the tourists had to catch their boat home. The ICC is considering a number of other options for the final of the four-team playoff between the highest-ranked sides in the world.
Swann also hopes the confusion over the use of the Decision Review System in Test cricket will be short-lived. No technological assistance will be available to umpires Billy Bowden and Asad Rauf on leg before wicket decisions for the four-Test npower series between England and India.
Swann has a fine record of lbw dismissals, especially against left-handers, and joked that the lack of a DRS system will hamper him in the series. "Yeah, I'm stuffed basically!" he said. "In my opinion it's been a great addition over the last couple of years and it works, but the powers that be have decided we're only using it for caught behind decisions.
"I'm sure in a year or two it will be used across the board for all decisions."
The Lord's clash is the 100th between the sides and the 2,000th in Test history, and Swann is relishing the occasion.
"I'm looking forward to everything about it, it's a huge game - it feels like the summer's finally arrived," he said. "We're playing against the number one team in the world and we're striving to be number one. It's the current number one against a team biting at their heels. But that has to take care of itself. We have to try to win each game as it comes and at the end of the series we'll see where we are, hopefully having won 2-0 or 3-1 to get to number one in the world."
But Swann is hoping England can delay another landmark which is on the horizon, with India great Sachin Tendulkar having made 99 centuries in international cricket. "I saw him get a hundred on TV before Sky Sports even started, so he's phenomenal to still be going now and on the verge of his 100th hundred in international games," Swann said.
"But hopefully he'll have to wait six or seven months for that, because we don't want him to get one in England."With the five-day format reaching its notable anniversary and a World Test Championship planned for a 2013 conclusion, Swann is optimistic about the future.
"Test cricket is the best form of the game, the pure form of the game. Twenty20 has created a new audience, I'm not sure how long 50-over cricket is going to last but Test cricket will be around for another 100 years.
"England are in a privileged position, we have the best support in world - certainly the best travelling support - so we don't play too many of those games with only 100 people in the crowd."