Cricket legend Sir Curtly Ambrose says the game’s rulers need to make Test matches more exciting by creating quicker pitches and removing restrictions on short-pitched bowling.
The former West Indies pacer has warned that if changes are not made to make Test cricket more exciting, the level of interest in the format will continue to decline.
“The two-bouncers-per-over rule [restricting the number of short-pitched balls a fast bowler can deliver] has also taken away a lot of the flair from cricket,” said Ambrose.
“The International Cricket Council needs to look at it again.”
Ambrose was speaking just before the start of the Test series between England and India, currently under way.
Attendances to Test matches around the world are dwindling and some Tests are even played against a backdrop of empty seats.
“If a fast bowler can bowl only a limited number of short balls, you’re taking away a weapon from him,” he said in an interview with Standard Sport.
“If a batsman is playing the hook shot, the fast bowler needs to be able to see whether that was a fluke, or whether he is serious. Of course, the umpire should step in if the bowler is overdoing it, but don’t take away the excitement. It’s so difficult for a fast bowler today.”
Sir Curtly, one of the most menacing fast bowlers in the history of cricket, will mentor the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2014 Caribbean Premier League, which starts tomorrow in Grenada.
“Today things are very one-sided. It is all about the batsmen, while some of the wickets are so slow and low that it is difficult to play well,” said the former Antiguan cricketer who is also part of the West Indies coaching team.
“If you go to a Test match and there is no excitement, it is going to turn people off. If there is a good fast bowler who can rattle the batsman, people enjoy that. When a batsman takes on a fast bowler, people love that competition, regardless of which teams are playing. That is certainly the case in the Caribbean.”