Starc: Don’t shorten Test match duration

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    Cricket traditionalist Mitchell Starc isn’t keen on the idea of four-day Tests and wants administrators to find alternative ways of modernising and rejuvenating the oldest form of the game.

    South Africa are seeking ICC approval for their four-day fixture against Zimbabwe starting in Port Elizabeth on Boxing Day to be granted Test status.

    England are also reported to be campaigning for four-day Tests.

    The concept isn’t welcomed by paceman Starc.

    “I’m always going to be in favour of five-day Test matches,” Starc told AAP.

    “I think being a traditionalist at heart, I wouldn’t like to see it change, all that history in five day cricket.

    “Personally having a few games which have gone down to the wire on day five and as a team having to fight hard and get those wins, how special they are.

    “So I’d love for it to stay the same.

    “I know there’s talk about modernising and rejuvenating, that sort of thing, but hopefully they find other ways to do it than changing to four-day cricket.”

    Having missed the recent two-match series in Bangladesh while recovering from a foot injury, Starc is looking forward to returning to the Test arena next month for the Ashes.

    Although Australia have struggled in shorter format games in India, Starc wasn’t concerned that form would carry over to the Ashes.

    He pointed out they will play England in far more favourable and familiar conditions.

    Starc said the early rounds of the Sheffield Shield would be important to fringe Test players and people like fellow paceman Josh Hazlewood and himself, who are coming back from injury.

    Starc last Friday came through his first match in almost four months and said he was now available for all cricket, after being held out of a one-day game on Sunday.

    He said Hazlewood, who returned early from Bangladesh with a side strain, had a good bowl in the nets in Sydney on Sunday.

    Australian captain Steve Smith is returning from India early with a shoulder injury, but Starc said he understood it was a precautionary measure.

    Starc said all the Australians felt for paceman James Pattinson, who looks set to miss the Ashes after taking an an indefinite break from bowling to recover from a re-aggravation of his lower back stress fracture.

    “Knowing James, he’ll come back bigger and stronger and try and come back bowling thunderbolts again,'” Starc said on Monday.

    © AAP 2017

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