Now that the dust is finally settled on England’s horrendous recent Ashes tour to Australia, England all-rounder Moeen Ali took some time out to reflect on the series and nature of public attendance in every Ashes Test, and said that he is worried about the future of Test cricket, especially with growing prominence of T20 leagues all around the world.
Moeen Ali in a dilemma to decide whether Test cricket is declining
“I feared (for the future) in the Ashes, actually. The crowds were quite disappointing in general,” Moeen Ali said, as reported by The Roar. While England all-rounder Moeen Ali does have some semblance to his views, it is not completely fair to say that there was a lack of crowd support during the Ashes series.
The day-night Ashes Test in Adelaide was attended by just under 200,000 fans while the Boxing Day MCG Test saw over 250,000 people making their way into the stadium, despite that fixture being one of the most tedious cricketing spectacles seen in this country in recent times, on account of a lifeless pitch.
Nevertheless, Moeen Ali had a lot to say about crowd attendance in the recent Ashes series, which England went on to lose 4-0. “It’s been a worry for a while but Australia really opened my eyes. I found it disappointing. 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. That’s when I thought, ‘Actually, we’re struggling a bit’,” he said.
While he had mostly negative words to say about the Australian crowds, Moeen said that he was looking forward to playing the next Ashes series at home England. “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.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,” was Moeen’s parting shot.
Coming back to the attendance figures in the recently concluded Ashes series Down Under, the Adelaide figure of under 200,000 made the second Ashes Test the most-attended cricket match ever at the Adelaide Oval, while the MCG number was the second-highest in the history of Boxing Day Tests.
Moeen’s argument that England is likely to produce sell-out crowds in the next Ashes is probably correct but an important fact in contention here is that it can largely be attributed to the disparity in ground capacity between the two countries.
Premier English Test grounds like The Oval (24,500), Lord’s (30,000) and Old Trafford (26,000) are dwarfed by their Australian equivalents; the MCG holds over 100,000 fans, while the SCG (46,000), Gabba (42,000) and Adelaide Oval (53,500) – all far bigger than any English venue.