Atherton blasts pitch

Paul A. Reid

January 21, 1998

CRICKET: Western Bureau: England Test captain Mike Atherton blasted the pitch which was used in his team's innings win over Jamaica at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay over the weekend.

Atherton described the pitch as ``dangerous'' and ``substandard for a first class match'' and said he could not remember playing on a worse pitch, quipping that maybe the Edgbaston pitch may be worst.

The England captain was speaking to reporters soon after his team's innings and 65 runs inside of three days. He also said if the Jamaican team had passed the follow on score he would have batted long enough to secure what he thought would be a winnable total as he would not want to expose his batsmen for too long.

The pitch and outfield which were prepared by a group appointed by the Jamaica Cricket Board (JCB) came in for strong criticism even before the start of play on Friday morning. The pitch played unpredictable throughout the three days.

Atherton defended his choice to bat first after winning the toss saying the pitch was damp and uneven at the start and would be easier to bat on when it was slow and unpredictable rather than when it was faster and still unpredictable.

In responding to the question if he was glad the Jamaican selectors had left out the pace trio of Courtney Walsh, Franklyn Rose and Patrick Patterson, Atherton said that quality bowlers would be more than a handful to handle on that pitch and it would have been even more dangerous had that trio been Meanwhile, the JCB has taken full responsibility for the bad state of the pitch.

In another press conference following the game, JCB member and chairman of the committee organising the game, Desmond Leaky, said despite the condition of the pitch and the outfield, more international matches should be played at Jarrett Park in the near future.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 18:47