Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has come out against shortening Test matches to four days, but South Africa supports the idea.
Tendulkar has warned against straying too far from the game’s roots in the quest to attract a younger audience.
The International Cricket Council, the sport’s world governing body, is set to discuss the idea of reducing all test matches by a day to free up a crowded international calendar.
The future of the longest format has been the subject of debate since the rise of Twenty20 leagues over the last decade coincided with dwindling crowds at test matches outside cricket hotbeds Australia and England.
However, Tendulkar said there were other ways of making test matches more attractive and halting the drift toward the shorter formats.
“I feel a purist will always enjoy a five-day match, because that is where you find the challenges,” he said.
“We should not be looking at test cricket as a longer format of a limited-overs match.”
Tendulkar retired from international cricket in 2013 and remains the leading scorer in the format with 15,921 runs and a record 51 hundreds.
He said that while the game continues to evolve it would be a mistake to focus on the latest trends at the expense of tests.
“From test cricket, one-day cricket started, which people enjoyed, and from there T20 came and next the 100-ball will come,” he added.
“A number of new things are being produced for the newer generation. But while you are learning new things you cannot forget your roots.
“As a purist, it is important test cricket stays the way it is.”
Four-day matches were given the green light by the ICC in 2017 when South Africa hosted Zimbabwe, and England have since played one against Ireland.
With an increasing number of tests finishing before the fifth day, administrators are keen to free up space in the schedule for more lucrative shorter-form matches.
Meanwhile South Africa have come out in support of four-day test matches, refuting reports that said they would oppose the plan.
“In view of an unsourced and misleading report in the media, please be advised that it is Cricket South Africa’s official policy to support four-day Test match cricket,” Cricket South Africa said in a statement.
“We, in fact, hosted the first official four-day test match between ourselves and Zimbabwe a couple of years ago.”
South Africa beat Zimbabwe by an innings midway through day two of that test in Port Elizabeth.