‘Pitches need to produce good cricket’

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Angus Fraser, Middlesex’s director of cricket, has insisted that a uniform spread of good cricket wickets remains the best way to develop Test-class cricketers, in spite of the difficulties that England encountered in spinning conditions on their tour of India this winter, where they succumbed to three heavy defeats at Chennai and Ahmedabad.

After dominating the first Test at Chennai in the most batsman-friendly conditions of the series, England had few answers to India’s spin duo of R Ashwin and Axar Patel for the remainder of the campaign, as the pair finished with 59 wickets between them across the four Tests.

Nor could England find a batsman able to thrive on those later surfaces to the same extent as either Rohit Sharma or Rishabh Pant. Each scored a century, in the second and fourth Test respectively, to put both contests out of reach, as England in reply managed a highest total of 205 in seven innings.

In particular, the conditions that England faced in the final two Tests at Ahmedabad, where they slumped to defeats in two and three days respectively, drew comparisons with the situations that many sides face when visiting Taunton in the County Championship – or “Ciderabad”, as it is colloquially known, due to the dominance of spin at the venue.

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