By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies fast bowler, Kenneth Benjamin, has warned that there is no such thing as a perfect pitch, and that players must learn to adapt quickly to suit the surface or atmospheric conditions.
The former Leeward Islands player was, at the time, offering his opinion on the quality of the pitches used during the recent Apex Series between England and the West Indies for the Richards-Botham trophy.
The Antiguan said that no matter the quality or lack thereof in a pitch, players will always be critical, even more so when the results are not in their favour.
“There is nowhere you are going to go in the world and get perfect pitches. I think the cricketers need to learn to adapt to play on different surfaces and the bowlers and so on need to adapt to different surfaces as well. Sometimes, they are going to be flat; just look at the one in Grenada which was probably a very good pitch according to the West Indies, but maybe England is saying something different because they lost. You’re not going to get any pitch that everybody is going to be happy with,” he said.
The first two Tests — played here at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and then in Barbados at the Kensington Oval — ended in draws with England amassing 1,352 runs with a highest of 507 for nine declared in the first innings of the Barbados Test. Hosts West Indies scored a total 1,068 across the four innings.
Benjamin opined that over-preparation could possibly be the main cause leading to poor quality pitches in the region.
“I think they [grounds men] can do a decent job because sometimes we play regional cricket and the pitches play different. I think they are over-cautious at the international level because they don’t want any reports about bad pitches and so they over-prepare them. They sit down on these driving rollers and they roll it for hours and that is nonsensical, honestly,” he said.
There has been public debate regarding the standard of pitches across the region. Former fast bowler, Sir Andy Roberts recently suggested that experts should be brought in from New Zealand to assist in preparing balanced pitches.
Iconic former West Indies captain Sir Viv Richards also voiced his opinion on the issue, stating that home teams should be able to prepare pitches to their strengths.