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David Lloyd: Cricket's big three must share the wealth – the game's future is at stake

David Lloyd working for Sky Sports Cricket
David Lloyd has called for action to protect the future of Test cricket - Getty Images/Stu Forster

David Lloyd has called on India, Australia and England - the game’s ‘big three’ - to share their revenue to safeguard the health of the Test game, warning of a future in which the countries are left playing only against themselves.

While Sunday saw two thrilling Test matches, with England beating India by 28 runs in Hyderabad and West Indies recording a sensational eight-run victory over Australia at the Gabba, Lloyd remains concerned about the future of the five-day game. Against a backdrop of Twenty20 franchise leagues proliferating and players from outside the big three increasingly able to earn more from these competitions than playing Test cricket, Lloyd urged administrators to share the sport’s cash more equitably.

“The authorities have an obligation,” said Lloyd, speaking exclusively to the latest episode of the Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast, which is out now. “When you’re growing up as a kid I want to play Test match cricket that’s what I want to play.

“My own personal view is the big three - England, Australia and India - have an obligation to share the wealth. They get the massive broadcast deals. Now West Indies don’t have the capacity or facility to have big broadcast deals.

“The big three have a massive obligation to make sure that other Test nations are right financially because otherwise they’ll end up playing just among themselves.”

Bumble, 76, has enjoyed a remarkable career in the sport. After playing nine Test matches for England, which included making 214 not out against India, he worked as an umpire, England head coach and then as a commentator for Sky Sports. He is now working for Talksport and will commentate on the third Test.

Lloyd has long been aware of the talents of fellow Lancastrian Tom Hartley, who took 7-62 to bowl England to victory last Sunday. He revealed he urged Rob Key, England’s managing director, to select Hartley for the Test tour of India because he believed his attributes would be well-suited to the challenge.

“He’s good stock, Tom Hartley - his background is pretty steady,” Lloyd said.

“Talking to Rob Key throughout last summer and chewing the fat, you talk the game, ‘what do we need in India?” I said you need tall bowlers who hit the pitch hard.”

Lloyd tipped Josh de Caires, an off spinning allrounder for Middlesex who is the son of former England captain Michael Atherton, to play Test cricket in the years ahead.

“I think this lad will play for England sooner rather than later,” Lloyd said. “He’s tall, bowls at good pace, bats pretty well - and he’s perfect for [Brendon] McCullum and [Ben] Stokes.”

England’s stunning first Test victory was vindication for Bazball and Lloyd praised the captain-head coach partnership - and its impact upon Australia.

Fox Cricket mocked England at stumps on day two when the hosts closed on 421-7 in reply to England’s 246 before a remarkable fightback.

“They’ve captured the imagination of all cricket-lovers,” Lloyd added. “I think they’ve really got under the skin of the Australians because they’re still on about it.

“What they’re doing in Test match cricket is flipping it on its head - they’re saying T20 is here to stay we’re going to play Test cricket in a similar way.”

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