Counting The Cost of Inaction:  Moeen’s World Cricket Warning Must Be Heeded

If Ben Stokes' retirement from international ODIs didn’t get governing bodies worried about the future of cricket , then Moeen’s latest intervention will surely have set the alarm bells ringing.

The England all-rounder  has said he expects more players to retire from some formats because of just how oversaturated the cricketing schedule is. 

This comes off the back of players missing competitions left right and centre. 

Stokes joins Bairstow in missing this year’s Hundred, and the scheduling must be the reason the commonwealth games featured only women’s cricket. Let’s not even talk about why England are missing so many of their bowling line up - because of injury from overworking.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Moeen confirmed that "at the moment it's not sustainable," who himself retired from Test cricket last year.

"Something has to be done because I fear losing the 50-over format in a couple of years because it's almost like the long, boring one. There's no importance given to it at the moment.

"International cricket in all three formats is by far the best cricket to play, but I do worry there are so many tournaments out there that players are retiring more now - and you'll see more retiring soon - because of overlapping schedules."

International Cricket is still the pinnacle, right?

Is playing for your country the aim of the modern cricketer?

In a world defined by lucrative white-ball franchises, it would seem not. Just look at Ben Stokes's decision.

This isn’t a value judgement on the players decisions to prioritise some formats over others, but rather to make plain the issue that management has to contend with.

Interim England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Clare Connor told BBC Sport this week that Stokes' message had been heard:

"It's something that we have got to grapple with - that's us with players, other boards, the International Cricket Council and the Professional Cricketers' Association," she said.

Words Must Be Followed by Action

Now it’s been heard, it’s up to the governing bodies to actually act on this. As of yet, there’ve been no concrete plans on how Connor and bodies intend on ‚grappling‘ with this issue.

And Moeen’s warning, while it’s supposedly been heard, must be acted upon.

If that’s admitting international cricket isn’t worth what it once was, financially or otherwise, then at least we would know where we stand.

But until then, cricket will keep trying to have its cake and eat it. The importance of each match will diminish in line with the decreasing quality of play given the absence of the best players.

As Moeen knows, its unsustainable. We can only hope a solution is found before its too late.


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