Give Me A Break: Sir Viv Says Home Teams Should Prepare Pitches In Their Favour

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Sir Viv Richards
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By Neto Baptiste

Legendary West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards has no issues with teams preparing pitches based on their strengths, and which could give them a competitive edge over their opponents.

His sentiments come on the backdrop of debate over the quality of pitches used in the first two Tests during the recent Apex series between visitors England and the West Indies both in Antigua and Barbados.

“When you’re in someone’s backyard you have to cater for what they have and that is why you go out and practice on occasions in similar conditions. When England toured India, there were issues about the wickets spinning and all sorts of stuff, but this is what they have. It’s their trump card, and if you can produce that [pitch to suit you] then I see no issue in that. Don’t tell me about you’re coming to play in my backyard and beat me and compete against me, but I should go and prepare a wicket that’s going to give you an opportunity? Give me a break,” he said. 

Critics have called for more balanced pitches that could offer equal opportunities for bowlers and batsmen alike.

Former iconic fast bowler Sir Andy Roberts recently suggested that experts are brought in from places like New Zealand to assist in pitch preparation across the Caribbean.

Sir Viv, however, agrees that some tracks offer very little at times to either batters or bowlers and that efforts could be made to ensure equal opportunity for all involved.

“I could have smelled that and heard that from pretty early because some of the balls that hit the bat, you knew in the back of your mind it was a slow track and it was hard to hit through the line of the ball and stuff like that, but these things happen. It is something that I think is of concern from most of the arguments that you hear. It is something we may have to look towards rectifying in the future to give both teams an opportunity to excel with bat and ball,” the Antiguan said.

In the first two Tests, England racked up 1,352 runs against the West Indies with a highest of 507 for nine declared in the first innings of the Barbados Test. The hosts scored a total 1,068 runs across four innings.

West Indies won the final Test by 10 wickets, on a lively pitch in Grenada, to take the three-match series 1-0. 

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