By Neto Baptiste
Prepare better pitches and our players will improve over time. This is the belief of former West Indies captain and one of the game’s most successful batsmen, Sir Viv Richards, who says poorly prepared pitches are a major part of the overall problems plaguing the game in the Caribbean.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Sir Viv pointed to the notion that some players are uncomfortable facing short-pitched deliveries or even fast bowling in general at the highest level as a prime indicator that there is need to overhaul the methods currently being used.
“I don’t think there is enough preparation being put into wickets, and wickets play a huge part because sometimes you get some individuals who would be selected because of some good performances on some dodgy tracks. So when you get to the bigger picture or they take a step up, then you find individuals are found wanting because these wickets are rather inferior on either sides of the coin, whether it’s batting or bowling. We need to pay a little more attention to having proper wickets that can be quite competitive for bat and ball,” he said.
A number of former players, to include Sir Clive Lloyd, Jeffrey Dujon, Sir Andy Roberts and Sir Curtly Ambrose have all raised the issue of pitch preparation in the past, signaling the need for better tracks.
Sir Viv, scorer of 8,540 runs in 121 Tests and another 6,721 in 187 ODI matches added that the region is still suffering from a reduction in the quantity of players allowed to compete in England’s County championships.
“We have had a number of years to actually work it out in terms of exactly what was happening and to get our own system in place, because one has to remember that we have a cricket legacy as a West Indies unit and as an establishment, so we have some shortcomings in trying to get things in place, and especially knowing what was happening in England at the time, with the limitation of individuals who were regularly part of the county system from this region, that it was going to be no more,” he said.
The West Indies suffered a historic loss at the hands of Ireland after the visitors secured a two-wicket win to claim a 2-1 series win at Sabina Park on Sunday.