Gavaskar worried with slowing down of pitches

Published: Friday, June 2, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Antigua:A legend here for taming the famed West Indian pace attack in its pomp, Sunil Gavaskar is worried with the slowing down of the pitches in the Caribbeans.

Gavaskar, who was here as a feature speaker for the third annual Sonny Ramadhin Lecture Series at the University of the West Indies, Faculty of Social Sciences, said, ''One of the bigger challenges the game of cricket faces today is one of the slowing down that has taken place in all the action. The over rates are slow...the pitches, and I think this is probably a bigger challenge than the over rates, because the pitches are very important.'' Addressing the gathering at the university's St Augustine Campus, Gavaskar suggested improvements to sustain the current interest for the game.

Gavaskar felt drawn matches are not going to do any good to Test cricket and he rued that the pitches around the cricketing world have a bias towards either the batsmen or the bowler.

''If you do not have a pitch that is balanced, a pitch that gives bowlers and batsmen an even and equal opportunity to display their skills and temperament, you are going to have one-sided contests,'' he explained.

The former India captain felt One-day cricket is not nemesis of the longer version of the game but on the contrary, it came to the rescue of the game and now batsmen play more shots with less dot balls while running between the wickets and the fielding have also improved.

He also found nothing wrong with the growing use if technology.

''If it is available and where it is accurate, I think it is in the best interest of the sport. Because it is important to get the correct decision.

''In countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka where there are crowds of 70,000-plus fans and there is a lot of noise, this made a huge difference,'' he explained.

Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee, Gavaskar also advocated abolition of leg-byes and runs scored off direct hits of the stumps because, he felt, runs should be scored only off the bat.

Gavaskar was nostalgic recalling his 1971 tour here during which he scored a mammoth 774 runs.

Considered a legend here since the exploit, the former opener earned the sobriquet of ''Real Master'' and had a classic calypso -- ''Gavaskar'' -- penned by Lord Relator.

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