Mark Richardson 's Opinion

Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson: Tests deserve five-day status

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New Zealand lost a potential 93 overs in the Dunedin test due to rain.  Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand lost a potential 93 overs in the Dunedin test due to rain. Photo / Getty Images

Don't give me the story that these pitches are too flat to get a result in a test.

Weather permitting, there is likely to be a result in this game and did anyone actually take the time to ponder the fact that there was a possible 93 overs lost in the Dunedin test due to rain? With England 120 in front with only four wickets remaining, had New Zealand had those overs available to them, they could have won.

Is it that we are not prepared to wait for five days for a test result? Is it that people want a steady flow of wickets and a guarantee of a result?

If that is the case, then perhaps it's time for the four-day test played on bowler-friendly pitches. In many ways, the four-day test could save test cricket. It's shorter, faster and, if they produce bowler-friendly surfaces, then no one wastes their time watching a draw.

Four-day test matches may allow for more test matches and hopefully the death of the two-match series. While I am desperate to see that death - which pays test cricket little more than lip service - I do not believe a test victory should be something gifted to either side just by virtue of turning up to play nor should it be something set up via forfeited innings and dodgy declarations.

A test victory should be something that is hard-earned or achieved via exceptional skill. When this is the case, and it can only be the case in conditions that demand outstanding bowling, then the significance of victory will not be lost by those who follow the game.

Entertaining and instant cricket is offered via T20s and ODIs but, for truly absorbing cricket, you need test matches. Watching bowlers work through plans and work on batsmen is what I find absorbing.

But I may be a dying breed and should test cricket be protected for the likes of me? Yes, I think it should. Not only should test cricket be preserved but also the way it should be played must be preserved as well.

Let's get back to Dunedin and the bad PR its placid wicket produced. My feeling is that the dissatisfaction around that draw was more a function of it being the New Zealand team trying to bowl a good team out twice in batting conditions - something our attack struggles to do.

I would much rather see our cricket develop to a point that they can force a result in such conditions than give them the green, seaming, lottery conditions they currently require.

- Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Hunter Richardson represented New Zealand in 38 Tests from 2000-2004 racking up an impressive 2,776 runs with an average of 44.7. The former Black Cap began his cricketing career as a left-arm spinner but soon realised that his talents lay with the bat. The transition from ball to bat was seamless and Richardson soon made his international debut against Zimbabwe at the age of 29. Known as a stalwart opener, Richardson’s intelligent style of hard-grind batting came at the perfect time for New Zealand cricket and provided much-needed stability for the Black Caps. Apart from being an excellent opening batsman, Mark Richardson was well-known among fans and team mates for his humorous off-pitch antics and friendly interactions with the famous Beige Brigade, with whom he formed a strong relationship. An excellent cricketer with a personable quality, Richardson once remarked that his retiring first-class average was only different to that of Sir Donald Bradman by a decimal point. Mark Richardson retired from all forms of the game in 2004 and continues to write an insightful, thought-provoking column for the New Zealand Herald.

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