Former India batsman Sandeep Patil and legendary all-rounder Ian Botham have joined the illustrious bandwagon of past and present cricketers to oppose the idea of four-day Tests. Both Patil and Botham have urged the world body of cricket – ICC to ‘leave Test cricket alone’, saying the five-day encounter tests the real character of a player.

The ICC Cricket Committee will take a call on the proposal of having four day Tests instead of the traditional five-day format which has been in place for the past 143 years since 1877.

When asked about the idea of four-day Tests, Patil’s initial reaction was ‘it’s nonsense’. Asked further to elaborate, Patil, a part of the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian team, said, “I am from the old school and like Sachin Tendulkar has put it so nicely and correctly that in five-day Tests, the first day belongs to medium pace bowlers and Test cricket itself is a test of character. You are taking away those characters and those tests.

“Why it is called a ‘Test’? It’s because it is the test of an individual. A cricketer is put to test on the first day and on the last day also when the wicket is crumbled, turning and square and you have to face spinners,” said Patil, who played 29 Tests between 1980 and 1984, as quoted by PTI.

He said it’s up to the ICC to take a call on the proposal but for him there should not be any tinkering on the five-day format.

Meanwhile, Botham requested ICC to don’t tinker with the tradition format, saying it’s ‘real cricket fir real players’.

“Well played England…Such a good idea to end 5day test cricket….full house watching cricket at its best !! Leave the flagship of cricket alone it’s a real test of character, skill, guts, stamina & ability…it’s real cricket for real players !!! Leave it Alone !!!!!!,” Botham tweeted after Ben Stokes’ three-wicket burst on the final evening ensured a series-levelling 189-run win for visitors.

Several cricketers, including the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and current India captain Virat Kohli, have opposed the idea of four-day Tests. The ICC Cricket Committee is set to discuss the concept in its meeting in March.