Millennium Post

Clarke proposes gentler pitches to prolong Tests

Retiring Australian skipper Michael Clarke has requested groundsmen to produce more batting friendly pitches in order to ensure that Test matches last their full length.

Indisciplined batting on both sides has been widely cited as the major factor in none of the five Tests in the just concluded Ashes series reaching their final day. Clarke indicated that he was happier with the first two pitches of the series in Cardiff and at Lord’s, which were derided for favouring batsmen, than with the last three at Edgbaston, Trent Bridge and the Oval which featured results achieved well within four days.

“I’d like to see groundsmen around the world - not just here - have the courage to go with what they think is a good cricket wicket,” Clarke was quoted as saying by the Sydney Moring Herald on Sunday.

“I think we’ve seen in the first two Test matches a lot of talk from the media and the commentators, about how flat the wickets were, yet those two Test matches were over in four days. One team won and one team lost. The next three are over in two and a half and three days,” he said. “I think Test cricket is a five-day battle. I want to see good and fair cricket for both batters and bowlers. I think that’s the way the game should be played - and, most importantly, I want to see a winner and a loser,” the departing skipper said. Australia beat England by an innings and 46 runs in the fifth Test, but the hosts regained the Ashes winning the series 3-2.

“But if the groundsman feels he knows how to produce a good wicket that will be a great battle of Test match cricket then I’d like to see them back themselves and go with that and not be persuaded by what’s said in the media or what the commentators say,” he said. Clarke argued spectators deserved to be able to watch Tests that ran to or close to length, rather than finishing by the half-way mark as they did in Birmingham and Nottingham.
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