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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Australian cricket team coach Darren Lehmann rejects Moeen Ali’s Test cricket fears

Australian cricket team coach Darren Lehmann does not share Moeen Ali’s concerns about the viability of Test cricket.

cricket Updated: Feb 26, 2018 16:48 IST

Darren Lehmann, the Australian cricket team coach, believes Test cricket is alive and well.
Darren Lehmann, the Australian cricket team coach, believes Test cricket is alive and well. (Getty Images)

Australia coach Darren Lehmann has dismissed the concerns of England’s Moeen Ali about the future of Test cricket.

The all-rounder this week claimed he is worried about the viability of the longest format following his participation in England’s 4-0 Ashes defeat.

Moeen said he felt that “crowds were quite disappointing” in Australia, comparing them unfavourably to packed stands at smaller venues in England.

However, asked ahead of the first Test against South Africa in Durban if he shares Moeen’s concerns, Lehmann told “No, I don’t.

“I thought the Ashes crowds were fantastic, our crowds were great. 

“I think they broke all records, whether they were at the ground or watching, streaming or listening on the radio. 

“It was an outstanding Test series. I’m not sure where that comes from, from Moeen, but that’s his opinion. 

“From my point of view as a cricket fan, I loved it. It was great. 

“I thought it was intense cricket. The games could have gone either way. 

“Four-nil wasn’t probably a fair reflection of how England played. I thought they played quite well. 

“For me, I think Test cricket is alive, and we only had to see the way people turned up to the whole game throughout the summer.”

The first match between Australia and South Africa is due to start at Kingsmead on Thursday, with AB de Villiers back in a Proteas side also featuring fellow stalwart Hashim Amla.

Captain Faf du Plessis and strike bowler Dale Steyn are battling finger and heel injuries respectively, but both will be expected to play at least some part in the series.

Lehmann acknowledged the presence of a clutch of accomplished veterans, who could opt to retire before the next five-day contests between the teams, presents an enticing challenge.

“They’re special players,” he said.

“It’s always an exciting Test series and it’s full on. There’s plenty of action going on the ground and off the ground.

“Those players are world-class players, we’ll have to keep them quiet to have a really good result on this tour.

“This [series] has a little bit of an extra feel I suppose because De Villiers, Amla and those guys might not go around again and we might not see them.

“We’ve got a lot to prove as a young side and keep playing well following on from our summer.”

First Published: Feb 26, 2018 16:09 IST