Ex-Cricketer Criticises County Pitches

Ex-Cricketer Criticises County Pitches: England batting coach Mark Ramprakash believes county pitches are not helping create top-order batsmen for Test cricket, labeling them ‘inexplicable’.

England have been bowled out for 77, 246, 187 and 132 in the first two Tests against Windies to slip to a series defeat and will now try to avoid a whitewash in St Lucia from Saturday.

Ex-Cricketer Criticises County Pitches

Asked by Sky Sports‘ Ian Ward whether domestic surfaces were allowing top-order players to hone their craft, Ramprakash said: “In a word, no.
“I’m trying to be diplomatic here but the stats would say fewer batsmen are getting 1,000 runs, let alone 1,500, in county cricket.

“Is that a lack of skill? Maybe – but I’d suggest it is more to do with ‘a quick game’s a good game’. We are playing four-day games in April when conditions are tough, pitches have a lot of grass on them.

“I went to Lord’s last year on July 25 for Middlesex versus Warwickshire and the pitch was indistinguishable from the outfield and Middlesex were 70-7 at lunch. That was after five weeks of 30-degree heat.

“It’s just inexplicable – I don’t know how groundsmen can possibly justify the pitches we are playing on at the moment.

“We are looking for batsmen with good technique and concentration to bat time – to get through the new ball and build an innings.

“Are we creating the right conditions for that, with four four-day games in April, four in September and not much in between?

“There is a huge emphasis on white-ball cricket, the excitement, smacking it into the stands. It’s great to watch but is it to the detriment of the art of batting? I would suggest yes.”

Ramprakash also cited tour preparation as a reason for England’s batting woes in Barbados and Antigua as they slumped to 381-run and 10-wicket defeats respectively to relinquish the Wisden Trophy.

Joe Root’s side played just a pair of two-day warm-up games against a Cricket West Indies President’s XI before they faced Jason Holder’s men at Kensington Oval.

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