Don’t tinker with Test cricket: Virat Kohli to ICC
Virat Kohli has scored 6147 runs in 71 Tests at an average of 53.92. @ Getty Images

India’s regular skipper Virat Kohli has continuously been a long-standing soldier of Test cricket. At a time when the International Cricket Council (ICC) is mulling ways to reduce the longer format of the game to four days, Kohli argued that the format should be left untouched.

“I cannot explain to you the job satisfaction you get when you do well in Test cricket because you know how demanding it is,” Kohli, who is rested from the ongoing 2018 Asia Cup, told Wisden. “It’s the most beautiful format of the game. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. I don’t even see it getting compressed to four days.”

Quizzed if the proposed move to make Test cricket to four-day matches would harm the game, Kohli added: “Definitely. It should not be tinkered with.”

Kohli, who has scored 6147 runs in 71 Tests at an average of 53.92, explained that to generate interest, fans need to be made aware on the excitement Test cricket can give.

“In a few countries, yes. It all depends on the awareness of people who watch the game. If you take countries like South Africa, Australia or England, they have big crowds for Test matches because people understand the sport,” he said.  “It’s literally living life over five days. There are so many ups and downs and even when you’ve done well you’ve got to keep coming back and doing it all over again.”

Meanwhile, the ICC is all set to introduce a new nine-team Test Championship next year that will run parallel to the 13-team ODI league. Kohli backed the move.

“I think that is going to give a huge push to Test cricket. It makes every series more competitive, and there’s going to be ups and downs throughout the Championship, which I really look forward to. The teams that love playing Test cricket are always going to be passionate about it,” he said.  “And it also depends on the system you have back home as well. If you’re not going to give more importance to first-class cricket, then people are going to lose motivation to play the longest format of the game.

“And with the T20 format coming in I think there’s far greater responsibility on all the cricket boards across the world to treat first-class cricket really well, because if the facilities and the standard goes up, then the motivation always stays.”