There is no right answer to this, but it is becoming apparent that there is the likelihood that there is a pretty unsavoury choice facing New Zealand Cricket when planning future incoming tours.
There are two mooted changes for test cricket on the horizon that, at first glance, appear unrelated.
The first initiative is the overdue Test Championship table, which will redress on of the bigger weaknesses the format deals with. Test cricket currently lives in a bubble; there is no overall goal and there are no consequences. A school debating team could easily argue that they are international friendlies.
The other mooted change, although still being debated, is the change to four day tests.
There are a few reasons for this; the global trend towards brevity across almost all sports, the desire for consistency (like golf; corporate days on Thursday / Friday, general punters in the weekend; rinse and repeat) and the ability to fit in an extra test in a confined time period. It is the last aspect that has particular appeal for New Zealand
Before we get too aloft on the righteous high-chair over this we should not forget that five day tests for New Zealand only really became common practice in the 1970s. One of our most famous series, the 1949 side to England, played three day tests.
The shortened test series are already upon us. At the end of the upcoming summer eight of the last nine New Zealand home series will have been of a two test nature.
The downside of the otherwise positive initiative from the ICC to introduce a Test Championship is that these series will become a thing of the future. It is a given that in this new set-up a series is defined as being of two tests; Ashes series, for example, just have bonus tests.
The pin-up model for the unique nature of a five day test is Adelaide 2006 when England started the final day of a lifeless test almost 100 in front , one second innings wicket down, and still managed to lose. The word Adelaide still sends shivers down England cricket fans.
The pin-up model in this country could be argues to be a draw; that bitter-sweet test at Eden Park against England in 2013. Note that was at the end of a three test series when the previous tests were decided in part by rain.
However you could argue that the real example of what five day matches can offer was from from January when Bangladesh found out the you are never safe. A game that meandered along for 4 ½ days; both sides scored over 500 in their first innings, and there was a lot of rain and wind.
Some called for the game to be called off after the third day, yet it ended up being a great finish in front of a full crowd. It should not be forgotten that when you lose play over the first few days it’s easier to make it up over the remaining time when you have the extra day to play with.
And that is relevant to New Zealand.
In the words of Morrisey . ”Neither one particularly appeals”. The reality is we need to start considering which compromise is preferred. So vote carefully.