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Geoffrey Boycott on bad pitches: ‘The future of Test cricket is at stake’

Boycott pitches Tests
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Geoff Boycott has called out administrators for jeopardising the balance between bat and ball in Test cricket, blaming them for not promoting the right kind of pitches and “passing the buck” to the groundstaff, which has put the future of Test cricket at stake.

Boycott’s comments come on the back of the drawn Barbados Test between England and West Indies, which he described as “dreary, uninteresting cricket” on a “pancake” pitch in his column for the Telegraph.

“Don’t blame the players,” wrote Boycott. “Blame the administrators. They have the power to insist that their groundsmen prepare better surfaces. If groundsmen will not do what is asked, sack them.”

The surfaces in the ongoing series in the Caribbean have drawn flak for their dull, lifeless nature, leading to two Tests where the prospect of a result only emerged after an enterprising third innings declaration in each case. Among others, West Indies quick Kemar Roach lamented that there were only “dead tracks” on offer in the Caribbean.

Boycott wrote that administrators need to use their authority and push groundstaff to deliver the right kind of surfaces that will ensure an even contest, claiming that home teams have, for a long time, influenced the preparation of pitches that would force a draw.

“Administrators always pass the buck and say it’s up to the groundsman what he produces. We don’t get involved. What’s the point in being an administrator unless you use that authority and give instructions to your groundsman on what type of pitch you feel is best to produce interesting cricket. Then it is up to the groundsman how he goes about delivering that type of surface.”

“Many times the home team ask a groundsman to give them a pitch to spin, seam or even be flat to get a draw. Captains and players will deny it but it has always happened. It is wrong and stupid because there is a bigger picture than home teams influencing a groundsman for a pitch that suits them. The future of Test match cricket is at stake.”

He added that the growing influence of T20 cricket, combined with the “meandering cricket” that lifeless pitches generate, would eventually spell doom for Test cricket as genuine fans will get “disenchanted” after a point, and young followers would fit the format less appealing.

“It’s in a fight for survival against a surfeit of T20 taking over the world of cricket. Nobody asks for Test match cricket to be played fast and furious like T20 matches, but come on, this sort of batting feast and meandering cricket will turn genuine cricket lovers off and once a supporter gets fed up or disenchanted then he or she won’t come back to Test match cricket. New supporters will find it so dull they will run into the arms of T20 and if youngsters find Test match cricket uninteresting then the five-day game has had it. Why? Because as us older generation die, youngsters today are the players and supporters of tomorrow. We must keep them interested as they are cricket’s future.”

This article is brought to you in association with Sportsbreaks.com who offer unforgettable sports travel experiences, including the Sportsbreaks.com Terrace for all England internationals and Vitality T20 Blast fixtures at Emirates Old Trafford. For more information click HERE

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