Former Barbados captain and West Indies international cricketer Ryan Hinds is adamant that the lack of proper pitches in domestic and regional cricket is having a severely negative impact on the quality of the game.
Indeed, Hinds told Barbados TODAY that the quality of cricket being played today was not as strong as it was when he started playing for the Combined Schools more than 20 years ago. He said the pitches were very docile which did not allow the kind of entertaining stroke play that had been the hallmark of Barbadian batsmen throughout the years.
“I would like to see better pitches that are faster than what are currently being produced. Anyone who follows domestic cricket is well aware that slow bowlers dominate each season. It is very rare for a fast bowler to be among the top three leading bowlers at the end of the season. We need to have better pitches to encourage fast bowling and good stroke play, Hinds said.
He added: “At a regional level, we are also suffering from the lack of good pitches. Everyone would agree that the quality of cricket has dropped over the years, but there is a need for better surfaces. Spinners in regional cricket just like in our domestic cricket are the major bowlers, the leading bowlers. Fast bowlers are seldom among the top five bowlers in the region at the end of the first class season. This is so because the pitches are very helpful to slow blowers. Our groundsmen must prepare pitches which are good for batsmen and have something in them for all bowlers for our cricket to truly develop,” the batting all-rounder said.
Hinds called for a more structured programme for the regional ‘A’ Team that allowed them to travel to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia rather than constantly travelling to India and Bangladesh.
“The players who are one step away from being selected to the Test team must go abroad and get that experience against the tough opponents and play in various conditions. This will prepare them for Test cricket and is a key part of their development,” he explained.
Hinds described the current West Indies Test team “as a young side” which must be given the time to develop.
“The ODI team is more experienced, we are a very good Twenty20 unit, in Test cricket, we just got to give the guys more time,” Hinds said.
He suggested that the High-Performance Centre at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies would have a major role to play in assisting with the development of young cricketers in the region.
“I believe strongly that the UWI has a role to play in the development of West Indies cricket. Several current members of the West Indies including the Test and ODI captain Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite the skipper of Twenty20 team came through the university. The university plays a role, not only in providing an education at the tertiary level, but it provides the opportunity to the individual who brings the discipline of having balanced their schoolwork which is time-consuming and playing sports.
“There are some cricketers who when not given the opportunity to represent their national team and do well, I would like to see a memorandum of understanding between the UWI, the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) and Cricket West Indies that allows more cricketers to be developed at the UWI,” Hinds, who has been employed as a coach with the university since 2014, said.
Hinds who has been playing in the domestic competition for the past 20 years, bemoaned the lack of senior players and former cricketers playing an active role in clubs.
“I think over the years senior players and former cricketers have vanished from around some clubs which has removed a vital source of knowledge from the young members of these clubs. I would like to see more senior players and former cricketers returning to clubs and sharing their knowledge with the current players. At present, there are a lot of young players at some of the clubs, so it is basically the blind leading the blind, I would like to see some previous players playing a more active role at clubs,” Hinds said.
He added that club life had also declined from what it was in the past when Barbados’ cricket was very successful.
“In those days, people used to spend a lot of time at the clubs talking cricket which does not happen today as it used to in the past. At present we have teams rather than clubs playing in the various divisions. Club life is still strong at Empire, Spartan, Carlton, Windwards, Wanderers and St Catherine. I would like to see the club life at those clubs extended to all of the clubs in the island. Club life plays a key role in the development of a young player. It was at the clubs where I really learn how to play the game,” Hinds said.