With a hefty turnout for the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Test, Australian skipper Pat Cummins insisted that the decline of the longest format in the sport isn’t as dramatic as people are painting it to be. Australia’s clash against Pakistan saw an attendance of 164,835 through the four days of action.
"My hopes are that it's even stronger than it is now, in ten years' time or 20 years' time," Cummins told reporters ahead of Australia's third Test against Pakistan in Sydney.
Cummins himself admitted that there were some question marks over the turnout for the Pakistan and West Indies Tests but insisted that all those doubts have been since been quashed with the crowd here in Melbourne.
"I think in some regards leading to this Test summer, some of the question marks were against Pakistan and West Indies. We've had two fantastic Test matches against Pakistan, really well supported, big crowds.”
"So I don't think it's in as dramatic a decline as sometimes it gets spoken about. But I think there is an issue just with the amount of other cricket out there, obviously competition for talent is higher than it's ever been,” he added.
While the Australian crowd have shown their interest in the longest form of the sport, it isn’t the same case in other countries, where the health of Test cricket is in a poor state. Cummins opined that he gets ‘worried at times’ when looking at how the red-ball format is in other countries.
"Every summer feels bigger than the last here in Australia, but obviously going overseas, that's not the case," Cummins said. "In some regards, I am a little bit worried at times, but at the same time, T20 cricket has never had more supporters and I don't think there have been more supporters in the world watching cricket.
"As a Test cricket lover, I wish everybody was watching Test cricket, but I've never seen cricket stronger than what it is at the moment."
What could improve Test cricket? A valid question that has been ringing the bell for quite a while now. Cummins reckoned that the health of Test cricket could be improved when there are 15-20 strong competing Test nations.
"Ideally we find a way to make it work where we've got 15 or 20 Test-playing nations who are all really strong," Cummins said. "I understand there are lots of different challenges, so I feel really privileged that in Australia it's a priority and it's really well-supported every time we play. I don't know what the silver bullet is, but it'd be great if there was one."