International Cricket Council (ICC) pitch consultant, Andy Atkinson, has revealed that there are fewer draws in Test matches nowadays due to a fairer contest between bat and ball.
The ICC, in a released statement, said that the number in drawn Test matches had dropped from 38 per cent in 2010 to 10 per cent last year.
Speaking exclusively to Reuters, Atkinson said: “In tests we are looking for a pitch that is fair to bat and ball and in the last 18 months or so we have got more of that and a lot more positive test results.”
Atkinson, spoke about the positive results, ahead of a workshop for the groundsmen of each Test playing nation, plus three more from second-tier countries.
Atkinson, has had a lot of experience in preparing pitches all around the world, and will be a central figure in the discussions with the groundsmen that are attending the workshop.
“What we are trying to do is reinforce the message that you need to prepare a different pitch for a five-day test than you would for a one-day game,” he said.
“The balance you are looking to achieve between bat and ball for a five-day game is about 50-50 but, although bowlers might disagree, for a 50-over or 20-over-a-side match it needs to be in favour of the batsmen as people want to see fours and sixes,” he added.
With the reputation of Test match cricket hanging by a thread, due to the rise in popularity of Twent20 cricket, ICC chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, has announced that the decrease in the number of drawn Test matches is a positive sign for the longer format of the game.
Through a news release, Lorgat, said: “Curators and groundsmen around the world deserve credit for preparing outstanding pitches which have produced thrilling test match cricket in recent times.”
Also speaking to Reuters, Lorgat, was clear that the workshop being held was not to try and standardise Test pitches.
“Definitely not, We want good and fair conditions for both teams wherever they are playing and different climatic conditions and soils will always ensure unique pitch characteristics in different parts of the world,” he said.
Lorgat noted that the workshop was to enable the groundsmen to share their knowledge in dealing with different conditions.
“What this workshop will do is create a forum for sharing knowledge on the art of pitch preparation in those differing conditions. Each participant should expand his own knowledge and, in turn, take back their learnings and pass it on in their home country,” he said.
Lorgat also stated that each part of the world had different conditions, and this, according to him, is the beauty of the sport.
“Each part of the world has its own attraction with regards to playing conditions and this must remain. That is one of the beauties of our great sport and long may it continue to test the skills of top-class cricketers,” he said.