London: Preparing an ideal Test track has become a dying art because of the surfeit of ODI and Twenty20 matches across the globe, feels ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson.

“With the huge amount of one-day and Twenty20 cricket around the world, it seems that some people have forgotten the art of preparing a five-day pitch,” Atkinson observed.

“The quality of the surfaces might be improving but that doesn’t mean the pitches are better for cricket as a whole,” he wrote in the May issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine, a highly respected cricket publication.

The former Warwickshire and Essex groundsman also feels that the tracks are way too biased in the batsmen’s favour and needed to be corrected.

“It’s about getting the right balance and it is now too far in favour of the batsman. It needs to come back towards the bowler,” Atkinson said.

The experienced groundsman advocated standard pitches which, he feels, are must if the ICC is to preserve the primacy of the five-day format.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The ICC wants to preserve the primacy of Test cricket and part of that is having pitches that produce good games, not bore draws.

“They want pace and even bounce but beyond that they want pitches to retain their local, traditional characteristics like seam in England or spin in India,” he said.

Atkinson didn’t hide his disappointment about the tracks in the West Indies used for the recent Test series against England.

“It was very disappointing to see how bland some of the pitches were during England’s recent Test series. Most of them are new pitches laid specifically for the World Cup in 2007 and yet they seem to have deteriorated since then,” he wrote. — PTI

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