January 3, 2004

Croft: 'English spinners need drier pitches'

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Robert Croft, who announced his retirement from international cricket yesterday, has warned that England won't produce a match-winning spinner unless there are drier pitches at county level.

Croft, who took 49 Test wickets at 37.24, said, "I know there's an instruction from Lord's saying that pitches must start dry, but it either gets ignored or it's because of the climate we have in this country, but it doesn't happen.

"Because of that, a lot of the spin bowlers don't adopt an aggressive or positive attitude towards bowling spin in this country," he continued. "We tend to get used a lot to hold up an end while the seamers have a break. Then you're expected to go away and bowl on turning pitches. If you haven't got a positive mindset it's very tough to do."

Croft, who took 35 wickets overseas, compared with 14 at home, added, "We have to develop more of a positive attitude towards spin bowling and the only way we can do that is to start producing drier pitches. When you do play on a pitch that is dry and get some wickets, if you come up against a green pitch in the next game you'll spin it more.

"If you play on drier wickets on a regular basis then I'm sure you would see a vast improvement in spin bowling."