(Reuters) - England’s limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan has said that test cricket and the County Championship hold little significance to young players who are increasingly leaning towards the shorter Twenty20 format.
Morgan, who hopes to represent Middlesex in England’s domestic four-day game for the first time in three years this season, believes that he is among the last generation of cricketers for whom the game’s oldest format is still relevant.
“I am not sure the (County) Championship matters to everyone any more,” Morgan told the Times. “I am a bit unique in wanting to return to play in it. I would say I am the last generation of people who care about it.”
Earlier this year, England opener Alex Hales and all-rounder Adil Rashid chose to play only limited-overs cricket for their counties Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire respectively.
England coach Trevor Bayliss said more players could follow if the current congested schedule is not reduced.
“The guys who play it all the time care but I am not sure it holds the same significance to the players who are now exposed to lots of different types of cricket around the world. It is now down the ladder of their priorities,” Morgan said.
Test cricket has witnessed a decline in attendances in recent years, prompting a range of initiatives to engage fans and increase viewership, including the introduction of day-night tests.
Morgan, however, offered a gloomy assessment of the future of red-ball cricket.
“Priorities are shifting. Red-ball cricket has gone backwards. It is not what people want to watch — they want to watch T20, that’s the reality,” he added.
“I don’t have many, if any, kids who come up to me and say they want to play test cricket. They want to play one-day shots.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis