ECB looking at artificial pitches

According to George Dobell at Cricinfo:

‘The ECB is looking into the possibility of using artificial pitches in its proposed new T20 competition.

Keen to ensure the best-possible surfaces (for batsmen, anyway) for a competition seen as vital in attracting a new audience to the game, the ECB recently held a meeting with county groundsmen where the idea was discussed. ESPNcricinfo understands that Chris Wood, the ECB’s Pitch Consultant, has been charged with researching how to introduce such surfaces ahead of the launch of the competition in 2020.

There are significant pros and cons to the use of such pitches. While it would likely result in a certain homogenisation of conditions and provide even less opportunity for bowlers to extract anything from surfaces, it would also enable grounds to provide the centre-wicket pitches required by broadcasters multiple times without concerns about deterioration. Artificial surfaces might also be considered to provide uniformity of conditions for both teams, which a turf surface will not always offer.

Drop-in surfaces have also been considered but are not thought to be cost effective or provide quite the same uniformity of performance.

While long-term lovers of cricket may have reservations about artificial surfaces, the ECB’s mantra over the new competition is that it is not designed to appeal to those already watching the game: it is designed to appeal to the vast potential audience that is currently immune to its charms. The ECB feels that providing such good-paced surfaces will help create the high-scoring, boundary-filled cricket it believes will attract that new audience. It might also minimise delays after poor weather.

To that end, Wood is looking into the best options and cost implications of laying such pitches close to the middle of squares in all first-class grounds’.

What do you think? Get involved and leave a comment below.

The full article can be read here:

Ben Stokes: ‘Test Cricket is the pinnacle’

The new England vice-captain can be found on talking about Test Cricket and the importance of the fan to the game.

“Test cricket is the pinnacle and we need people to fall in love with it again. We need to win but we want to perform in a manner that makes people want to come and watch us.

“We want to be positive, aggressive and always on the front foot. If we do that then we will get those performances. The team we have is full of natural entertainers. We need them to perform like they did for their counties, that’s why they got there in the first place.”

In the interview, Stokes is looking back to the Test against New Zealand at Lord’s in May 2015 – a stonker of a match which saw thousands of fans including lots of kids queuing for a ticket on the final day.

Stokes went onto say, “I’d never seen it like that. There had been runs galore in those first four days, something was always happening – people wanted to see us play exciting cricket.

I will always remember that, we got people to notice Test cricket and we need to do that again”.

Is Test cricket the pinnacle for you? Get involved and let us know what you think.

The full interview can be read here: