Flat pitches a further concern for cricket
To those uninitiated with cricket, to hear complaints about a playing surface being ‘flat’ would only further confuse them. As if the game, also hit by tragedy this week, wasn’t complex enough.
Now, a recent trend of high scores has led to criticism from some of the game’s former players, who are equally baffled by pitches that serve up nothing more than run feasts.
A list of highest test innings above 600 includes five totals all scored in the last couple of weeks, and two of those make the top 10.
This is not to say that all is bad in world cricket.
A glance at the recent first test match between South Africa and Australia shows how cricket ought to be.
There was life in the pitch from day one, and with the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg being at altitude the ball is more likely to swing. Yet Australia’s number nine batsman, Mitchell Johnson, was still able to score 96 not out in the first innings.
Nevertheless, with all the adverse publicity for cricket emanating from Allen Stanford’s controversial 20 million dollar match last year and his recent fraud charges, the last thing the sport needs is to alienate itself from further potential followers.
While the shorter form of the game continues to grow in popularity, test match cricket played over five days cannot be ignored.
There have been calls to bring back uncovered pitches and to change the ball every 50 overs (currently the new ball is available every 80 overs).
Can anything else be done to help save five-day cricket?
PHOTO: England’s Andrew Strauss watches a Shivnarine Chanderpaul shot go for four during the fourth test match at Bridgetown, Feb. 28, 2009. REUTERS/Philip Brown