LONDON: With the ICC already mulling the idea of four-day Tests in the age of fast-paced Twenty20 cricket, the last thing an under threat longer version of the game needs is a boring Ashes, feels former South African captain Kepler Wessels.
"The last thing Test cricket needs is a boring Ashes series. The longer version of the game is already under threat. The International Cricket Council is talking about four-day Test matches - and the Twenty20 version of the game is taking over everywhere. This Ashes series needs to provide the spark to keep Test cricket alive," Wessels said.
Wessels feel scheduling Ashes close on the heels of a premium event like Twenty20 World Cup at the same venue was another reason for the "low-key" England-Australia series.
"I can't really remember when the build-up to an Ashes series has been as low-key as this one. Maybe it is because the World Cup Twenty20 finished so recently. It may not be such a good idea to schedule a Test blue ribbon event straight after a high-profile tournament in the same country," he wrote on the Weekend Post.
The former left-handed batsman said the sell-out crowd at Cardiff was perhaps because the ground was staging its maiden Test.
"The other reason could be that both England and Australia have as yet failed to capture the imagination of the public. The crowd attendance for the first Ashes Test at Cardiff, currently under way, was always going to be good.
"It is the first Test match at this ground - and the initial Test in an Ashes series - so it was always going to be a sell-out. But so far the cricket has been very mundane," Wessels said.
He said something dramatic was needed to raise the standard of the game for the remainder of the series.
"It did in 2005, with very different personalities involved. Hopefully the current players will step up to the plate and provide the excitement that may turn some of them into legends of the Ashes. The two captains, Ponting and Andrew Strauss, have a big role to play in this respect," he said.
Wessels felt it would be a good series for batsmen in the absence of real quality bowlers on both sides.
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"Due to the lack of real quality international bowling on either side, this is a good series to be a batsman. The top order in both teams played well on this easy-paced pitch and we may well be set for long drawn out matches," he said.
"It could get boring at times, but it may also lead to a sudden twist that could determine the outcome of the series in dramatic fashion."