How vital is it for young cricketers to mostly play on good cricket wickets before they reach the international level? Are poor pitches a significant barrier to producing world class cricketers? It's not something that is talked about too much when problems with cricket are discussed.
As a long suffering West Indies fan, I think it is the number one cause of our malaise. People not from the Caribbean tend to talk a load of rubbish about the rise of Basketball and US sports depleting our talent base, but I've seen and spoken to enough people to know that we are producing as many freakishly talented young cricketers as ever.
Unfortunately, 90% of the pitches in the Caribbean are terrible and unfit for decent cricket, and I think this is making it very hard for our young batsmen to develop as we want them too. Our FC cricket was streamed online this year and much of it made for grim viewing. We saw:
- Balls turning square on day 1
- Balls keeping low on day 1
- Spinners opening the bowling
- Spinners bowling 70% of the overs on day 1 in some cases
- The fast bowlers that did actually take wickets all had to do so in very few overs so we know they were doing an outstanding job. Miguel Cummins, Jason Holder, Sheldon Cotterell and earlier Chris Jordan all took wickets but were hardly getting a fair bowl because the spinners were always on.
There was also some evidence of this in all our recent international matches against India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, particularly the last 2 T20 matches at Arnos Vale. We have the biggest hitting batting lineup in the World by some distance, why would we want to play against teams from the subcontinent on pitches where you cannot hit through the line?
Are any other countries experiencing this problem? Does anyone else have a proliferation of substandard pitches at FC level?