South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar have expressed their skepticism over the concept of four-day Test matches and want five-day Tests to continue. The duo reasoned that the four-day Tests will make the format less challenging and will take the very essence that makes the game special.
Earlier in last week, CSA announced that they intended to host Zimbabwe for a four-day day/night match in Port Elizabeth on Boxing Day, subject to ICC's approval at the ICC conference in Auckland this month. Although there is a certain audacity about the way in which CSA pushed the case for four-day Tests by scheduling one prior to formal ICC approval, it appears that they failed to properly consult with their players.
Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar have opposed the idea and expressed their desire for five-day Tests to continue in the aftermath of South Africa's victory over Bangladesh in the first Test. Du Plessis stated that removing a day would make the game less challenging, while Elgar suggested that cricket "should not tinker with something that's not broken".
"I am a fan of five-day Test cricket. I believe the great Test matches have gone to the last hour of the last day on day five. That's what is so special about Test cricket. In four-day cricket or first-class cricket, it does feel easier because there are only four days," du Plessis told Cricbuzz.
"For five days you have to graft it out. Bowlers have to bowl a lot more and batters have to construct much bigger innings. This Test proved that a day five was needed. If it was a rain-off yesterday, it would have been very disappointing so I am a fan of that."
Test specialist Elgar, who does not play the shorter formats for the national team, also supported his skipper’s words and threw his weight behind
"I'm a five-day Test specialist, and it must stay that way in my opinion. I don't think you should tinker with something that's not broken. If you go and play around the world, Test cricket is followed quite well. If you play in Australia, if you play in England, even if you play in South Africa against the relatively big nations you still get very good crowds. There are other formats that are being experimented with. I don't see why Test cricket should suffer. I am a purist when it comes to that. Hopefully, the game can have longevity in the five-day format," Elgar said.
CSA's now-sacked chief executive Haroon Lorgat had informal discussions with the South African team management when Russell Domingo was still the coach, but the final talks were supposed to be with the players via the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA). But CSA announced last month that it intends to host Zimbabwe for a four-day day/night Test in December, without having a discussion with him.
"I expressed the concern to CSA before Haroon left that there was no proper consultation. There should have been proper consultation because there are a lot of cricket aspects - it is quite a big change to a new format, it's four days and also day/night, playing against a team that has never played pink-ball cricket,” said Tony Irish, SACA's chief executive.