On the final day of the Lord's Test between England and New Zealand, some MCC reps were testing the speed of the Lord's outfield with whatever those things they use in golf to test the speed of greens and fairways are called. This interested me.
Ian Botham, perhaps not surprisingly, was sceptical - and it must be said one of the suggestions, trying to standardise the speed of outfields, is a horrible idea.
But the other - slowing outfields down - is IMO a very fine idea. People talk about how bats have become better, and Michael Atherton (who has sat on some I$C$C committee which has recently discussed how the balance between bat and ball needs to be addressed) talked earlier about how there has been thought to try and undo the improvements in bat technology.
My question is (and he and David Gower touched on this) - why would you want to deliberately try and undo progress? Why not aim for countering progress in other areas? I've long said people should try and manufacture cricket-balls that swing more.
But this outfield thing strikes me as a fine idea, as I say. To lessen the effect of more powerful bats, which certainly does IMO need to be done, why not just slow the outfields down? Leave the grass longer?
Ian Botham of course brought up the "people want to see fours and sixes". Well, some of the simplistic fools who barely qualify as cricket fans do, maybe. But the increasing disquiet over the bat-friendliness of the game from genuine fans at the current time suggests maybe this view is becoming antiquated.
Would you be in favour of slowing down outfields?