Moeen Ali fears for the future of Test cricket
By Aditya Pratap - Feb 23, 2018 4:50 pm
Views 54

Moeen Ali has expressed his fears for the future of Test cricket, suggesting even the Ashes is losing some of its magic after a ‘disappointing’ public reaction in Australia.

The all-rounder is back on England duty after being rested for the Twenty20 tri-series and is preparing for the one-day campaign against New Zealand, which begins in Hamilton on Sunday.

Also Read: Moeen Ali backs Rashid and Hales after snubbing red-ball contract

But it was the fate of the red-ball game which occupied his mind as he fielded questions at the team hotel in Auckland.

Questioning the viability, the marketability or long-range prospects of the five-day format is hardly new – the sport has arguably been engaged in an extended existential crisis ever since T20 emerged on the scene – but the old rivalry between England and Australia has always been thought immune.

Moeen had a torrid series from a personal point of view as the tourists were outclassed 4-0, but he revealed the entire occasion had failed to live up to the hype.

“It’s been a worry for a while but Australia really opened my eyes. I found it disappointing,” Ali said of his first Test tour Down Under. “I feared (for the future) in the Ashes, actually. The crowds were quite disappointing in general. There were a couple of days – Boxing Day, the first day of the series – but even when they won the Ashes there weren’t that many people celebrating.”

He further added “That’s when I thought, ‘Actually, we’re struggling a bit’. We’re very lucky in England – after being all around the world and seeing the crowds everywhere else, we’ve got the best fans, we’ve got full houses most of the time.”

Also Read: Moeen Ali is not happy by letting his team down in the Ashes

“But I think the Big Bash had bigger crowds than the Ashes. That’s great for T20 but for Test matches, it’s a massive worry,” Ali concluded while saying.

Yet Moeen’s words will still alarm those who see the primacy of Test being steadily eroded. For now, it is back to 50-over cricket and a five-match series against the Black Caps. Joining Moeen in returning from rest are Joe Root and Chris Woakes, while Ben Stokes is also pushing for a long-awaited comeback. The series will kick off on Sunday (February 25) in Hamilton.