England all-rounder Moeen Ali showed his fear on the future of white-ball cricket and said that the longest format of the game has come too far. Australia coach Darren Lehmann doesn’t share his concerns.
On Friday, he said the low crowds during Magellan Ashes opened his eyes, as it was lost by England 4-0, to the Test cricket’s struggles.
But Lehmann doesn’t agree with what Moeen stated. He said the record-breaking crowd of fans during Test summer – Australia’s second most-attended Test followed by 1936-37 Ashes – showed the craze for Test is as strong as decades ago.
Lehmann added in Durban to cricket.com.au when asked if he agrees Moeen’s fears on the future of Test, “No, I don’t feel so. In fact Ashes fans were amazing and our crowds were fantastic. They broke all the records, whether they were watching, listening on the radio, or streaming online, or on the ground. The Test series was outstanding. I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s his opinion.
“From my opinion, I loved it as a cricket fan and it was great. I felt it was great cricket and games could go another way. Four-nil was not fair indication of how England played and I believed they played well. For me, I believe Test is alive and we just had to see how people turned up to the entire game all the summer.”
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Over 866,732 fans gathered to the five Ashes Tests this season, around 200,000 reached the first ever day-night men’s Ashes Test, and 2.1 million viewers across the country tuned into the third session of second day in Adelaide.
On first day of fourth Test, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was packed with 88,172 fans and 252,672 fans attended the drawn match of the summer. In a Boxing Day Test, it was the second largest crowd.
Moeen was perhaps not aware of those facts and said playing in Ashes got him concerned of the future of Test when he talked in New Zealand to the media. He added, “I fear for the future of Tests. I am concerned of the Ashes really.”
“The crowds were fairly less. There were a few of the big days, but even when the Ashes won by the Australia and there were not many people to celebrate. It’s when I thought we are struggling.”
“In England, we are very lucky. After seeing the crowds everywhere and being all around the world, we have the best fans and full houses all the time. I feel lucky in this way. Test cricket is the king and it’s a worry. In my opinion, it is where best players try their bats on.
“You can see who the best is. It has been a concern for a while but Australia has been the eye-opener for me”