Pitch preparation driven by commerce: Atkinson

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/i/icccricket.jpg' class='caption'> ICC's pitch manager Andy Atkinson admits pitch preparation was on Monday driven by commerce.

Updated: August 03, 2009 09:55 IST
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New Delhi:

ICC's pitch manager Andy Atkinson admits pitch preparation was on Monday driven by commerce while also saying that the art of Test match wicket preparation was getting lost in the age of ODIs and Twenty20 cricket.

"It's a fact of life that cricket can only survive and grow through finance, and much of that finance comes from revenue generated by broadcast and sponsorship revenue and attendances," he said.

"So if matches don't run the distance, that can hit clubs and boards in the pocket. That means there is always a balance necessary - you want the match to run its course, but you also want to give the batsmen and bowlers a fair chance to display their skills and excel," he told a cricket website.

Atkinson recalled his experience of preparing first pitch as the head groundsman when the match lasted only four days to explain his point.

"When my first Test as a head groundsman was completed in the last over of the fourth day, the very next morning I was invited to join the CEO in his office, where he told me that because my pitch did not produce five days' play, I had cost the club 150,000.

"I did have to mention in my own defence that not all of the wickets to fall were the fault of the pitch!" he said. Atkinson reiterated his recent comment that there should be a balance between bat and ball on a Test wicket.

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