A number of media commentators have been critical of the strength of world cricket in regards to bowlers at the moment. If you are asked to come up with a world side, the batsmen all line up in their droves, but high quality bowlers are harder to pinpoint. However, having watched tests over the last few years from all around the world, I am now wondering whether we are being harsh on the bowlers. Pitches everywhere appearto be significantly biased towards being overly batsmen friendly.
All of the Australian pitches have become exceptionally good batting wickets. There is little difference now in their playing characteristics. No longer do we see pace and bounce at the WACA, or raging turners in Sydney. In the West Indies, the bowlers need a shovel to try and dig out the batsmen once they were established. A few years back we saw Australia use 5 frontline bowlers simply to try and overcome this problem. India's pitches don't appear to be the spinner's delights they used to be, with both quick and spin bowlers struggling to take wickets. Same goes for most places around the world.
I can't remember the last time a curator was sacked for producing a pitch in which both teams scored 500+ and the game ended in a tame draw. With increases in science and technology, curators are now able to produce perfect batting wickets almost at will, and it is in the authorities financial interests to ensure that tests last at least five days. Are the bowlers in the world weak at the moment, or are they looking worse because the pitches are uniformally belters? How many double hundreds have we seen from around the world in the last few years? How many run-scoring records are broken each year? If we put out a few more tests on less perfect pitches, would we start to praise these bowlers more as they would be able to get some assistance from the pitch?