International wickets batsman-friendly: Atkinson

April 9th, 2009 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 9 (IANS) The quality of Test pitches worldwide has suffered due to excessive One-dayers and Twenty20 games, feels International Cricket Council (ICC) pitch consultant Andy Atkinson.
Atkinson, the former Warwickshire and Essex groundsman who advises the ICC on pitch

preparation, also said the volume of One-day and Twenty20 cricket may be affecting Test pitch preparation.

“With the huge amount of one-day and Twenty20 cricket around the world, it seems that some people have forgotten the art of preparing a five-day pitch. The quality of the surfaces might be improving but that does not mean the pitches are better for cricket as a whole,” Atkinson wrote in the May issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine.

“It’s about getting the right balance and it is now too far in favour of the batsman. It needs to come back towards the bowler, ” he states.

Atkinson also expressed his disappointment with the wickets used for England’s Test series in the Caribbean.

“It was very disappointing to see how bland some of the pitches were during England’s recent Test series. Most of them are new pitches laid specifically for the World Cup in 2007 and yet they seem to have deteriorated since then.”

Atkinson denies that the ICC wants to standardise pitches: “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he says. “The ICC wants to preserve the primacy of Test cricket and part of that is having pitches that produce good games, not boring draws.

“They want pace and even bounce but beyond that they want pitches to retain their local, traditional characteristics like seam in England or spin in India.”

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