Cricket: England Win First Test But Where Are The Spectators?

I may be an Irishman but I do have a soft spot for England Cricket.  I accept that it is a complex game which at it’s worst could send the most stoic of us into a deep sleep.

At it’s best it is a gripping encounter, every ball a potential turning point, every run a potential game changer.  In recent years we have seen the rise of 50 over and 20 over cricket.  The one day formats of the game are are undoubtably exciting but test cricket should be the pinnacle of the game.

Sadly recent years have seen the growth of limited overs cricket rise at the expense of test cricket.  It seems that only India, Pakistan and England have maintained a real interest in test cricket.

Today saw the final day of England’s first test against South Africa in Durban.  At the beginning of the day both sides had a chance of winning the match though admittedly an comprehensive England victory looked on the cards from the off.

As reported by the BBC England duly wrapped up the match by skirling South Africa for just 174 runs in their second innings.  South Africa lost six wickets for 38 runs before lunch.

Admittedly there wasn’t really much hope for South Africa to win this match but according to the ICC South Africa are the worlds top ranked cricket team, England sixth.

Sadly as the image above demonstrates England’s victory was watched by three men and a dog.  South Africa crickets announcement that tickets were available on the gate was something of an understatement.

It seems that the only test cricket the public wants to watch is either England V Australia or India V Pakistan.  Even the West Indies home matches, so long a cauldron of colour and excitement, no longer attracts a meaningful number of spectators.

You have to wonder how long the long form of this beautiful game can survive.

It’s loss will be a tragedy for our sporting culture.  Sadly I think test cricket is doomed and it’s demise will be a tragedy.

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