Australia great Glenn McGrath believes the sight of a near-deserted Melbourne Cricket Ground during England’s recent ODI series raises alarm bells for the future of the format.Little more than 4,000 fans trickled into the vast MCG for the last of three 50-over matches between the old rivals, leaving huge swathes of the venue completely empty.Just nine days earlier over 80,000 attended England’s T20 World Cup win over Pakistan at the same stadium, leaving players, fans and pundits united in their criticism of the scheduling.But McGrath, a three-time World Cup winner in ODI cricket, believes the problem runs deeper than one poorly planned series and feels serious thought has to be applied to avoid the format being squeezed out of the calendar permanently.“It was so disappointing to see crowds like that, ODIs are really under the pump at the moment,” he told the PA news agency from his Queensland home.“Melbourne is classed as the sporting capital of Australia, if not the world, they absolutely love their sport.
So for them to turn out in the numbers they did speaks volumes about where we’re at.“The powers that be really have to watch that they don’t put games on just for the sake of it, games that don’t count for anything.
The international schedule is tough enough. I think they have to respect every series and every game, it has to mean something.Melbourne is classed as the sporting capital of Australia, if not the world.
So for them to turn out in the numbers they did speaks volumes about where we're at.“We’ve got to protect the game. T20 cricket is always growing, it’s fast, quick and exciting and Test cricket really is the ultimate.Read more on independent.co.uk