Roberts, Boycott disagree on Island’s cricket pitches
Ex-Test bowler Andy Roberts has dismissed claims that Bermuda’s clay is not good enough to produce quality batting strips.
The West Indies legend has toured Bermuda on several occasions in the past and bowled on what he characterised as “very good” batting strips at opposite ends of the Island.
“When I came to Bermuda before there were some were very good pitches,” he recalled. “Somerset Cricket Club had a very good pitch while St George’s (Wellington Oval) was like what we have in the Caribbean, not too bouncy. The pitches in Bermuda back then were well bonded and didn’t crumble.”
Former Yorkshire and England batsman Geoff Boycott begged to differ.
During the MCC’s tour of Bermuda earlier this year, Boycott complained about the Island’s reddish clay, which he claimed doesn’t bind as well as it should.
“The soil you have is a reddish soil that crumbles too easily,” he said. “You need to get a better type of soil that binds because the 22-yards we play on is everything.”
Boycott suggested importing clay from other jurisdictions. But current law prohibits the importation of foreign clay.
One thing Roberts and Boycott agreed upon is the level of commitment needed to produce good batting strips which in turn encourages better cricket.
“One of the problems with the pitches in Bermuda now is I don’t believe enough work is done on them,” said Roberts, who has helped prepare Test pitches in the Caribbean. “Anything you do if you are not committed to it then you are going to have problems, and some of the groundsmen today are not committed.
“Bermuda has the capability to produce very good pitches but you just have to spend more time on preparing them.”
Boycott added: “There is a great skill, a great knowledge that goes into preparing really good pitches that give everybody, batsman and bowler, a fair chance to express their skills.”
Roberts, who formed part of a fearsome four-pronged Windies pace attack in his heyday, has urged local groundsmen to conduct experiments with various clay and techniques that could also help raise the standard of batting strips.
“What the groundsmen need to do from time to time is experiment,” he said. “I don’t know where in Bermuda you get your clay from, but you can experiment with different clay and experiment with different types of preparation of different pitches that could make a difference.”