12 August 2010

Cricket wickets and WG Grace

The lifeless pitch used for the 2nd Test in Sri Lanka when they played India recently seems to have meant that the lot of the hapless bowler is once again in focus. Bigger bats, smaller boundaries, only able to bowl a certain amount of bouncers, anything down the leg-side a wide in ODIs...the list goes on. But a wicket where batsmen on both sides dominate delivers (relatively) boring cricket - a wicket that does a little more than is ideal provides an exciting game (and a result).

As Boards are desparate to increase the attendence at Tests, I see it as their responsibility to talk to their groundsmen and ensure wickets with a bit of life are produced. Unlike this observer who maligns the state of wickets around the world these days, I (for once) don't think it's the ICC's core role to worry about wickets - if the main players in the national boards can't see why it's vital for them to worry about, then they shouldn't be in those positions.

Watching the Legends of Cricket videos about WG Grace on Cricinfo the other day, the experts talking about Grace's skill were at pains to point out that his statistical record has to be considered against the poor standard of wickets he played on. In fact, he claimed to have had to educate Australian groundsman on how to prepare a decent wicket during his tours there! Perhaps we could double his Test average of 32 in today's run currency as a minimum?

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