Test cricket is the longest and the oldest format of cricket. Test cricket tests a cricketers abilities, his technique and temperament is tested to the fullest in Test cricket. However, the arrival of the shorter formats, its commercialisation and results on the same day has posed a serious challenge to test cricket in which there are only a limited number of top teams and rare cases of teams winning series away from home against another equally strong side. Also, the fan following of test cricket has dropped in most of the countries except a select few.
Therefore if certain rules are fine-tuned or some innovative rules are introduced, the test cricket format can be made more interesting across the globe.
The below 5 rules/innovations can help test cricket.
Free hit rule
In the limited-over formats we have the free hit rule. Once the bowler commits a no-ball, a free hit is awarded to the batting team on the next ball in which no dismissals are allowed except runouts which helps the batter to go for a big shot. The free hit option should definitely be allowed in test cricket as the crowd loves to see big hits.
Reserve day provision
A provision for a reserve day should be allowed in all test matches to counter long hours wasted due to rain stoppages or rain washouts of certain days, to ensure as far as possible of a result in the game. The recent WTC final produced a result due to the reserve day provision. The test in that case produced a result on the reserve day. Similarly, the 1st India v England test at Nottingham had to be drawn after rains washed out the 5th day as there was no reserve day provision.
Allowance of substitutions for injury
As of now in all formats, like for like substitutes are allowed for concussions. In test cricket, it should now also be allowed for any on-field injury which results in any player unable to take any further part in the match. Any big shoulder or hamstring injury or any injuries that makes it impossible for the player to play. Neutral medical staffs on the ground should judge the extent of those injuries and report to the match referee for a final decision. This rule can help both teams to stay on equal footing for the remainder of the test.
Like in other sports, Test cricket also should have a substitution rule whereby each team can be allowed one substitute after both teams have completed their first innings. Suppose a team needing a spinner for the remainder of the game, can bring in one replacing a pacer or a batsman. Similarly, a team supposed to chase in the last innings can bring in a batsman by replacing a bowler.
Leg side wide rule
Like in other formats, the leg side wide rule should be introduced in test cricket to control any negative bowling down the leg side. However, for the test format compared to other formats, the margin of error should be slightly more on leg side wides but much lesser than it is actually now.