0 Poor pitches killing English T20

"Take me to Lord's to see someone I've never heard of, nurdle someone else I've never heard of off their legs for a single," is an expression no child has ever uttered.

The NatWest T20 Blast is not for the purist. It is not about subtlety. It is not, really, even about winning. It is about attracting new spectators to the game. It was re-launched only a few weeks ago to double - yes, double - attendances over the next three or four years.

So it is essential it contains the biggest names, boundary hitting and fast bowling to appeal to those who are left untouched by longer forms of the game. It is essential it provides fast-moving, attractive, entertainment.

So it was a shame that, on the day it became clear that the ECB were not going to honour their commitment to back the re-launched competition by making England players available, that the pitch at Lord's for Middlesex's match against Gloucestershire should provide so little chance of entertainment to a crowd of 14,000.

Dry, cracked and uneven, it provided too much assistance for the bowlers and produced cagey cricket lacking the big hitting or eye-catching bowling that could sell the game to a new audience. It was like going to watch The Rolling Stones play their greatest hits and instead find them experimenting with an evening of Belgian jazz.

Matches like this present a chance to appeal to a new audience; a chance to inspire new supporters and new players. With very little cricket available on free-to-air TV, it is the shop window for our game.

But, all too often, the English game is self-harming with this sort of surface. A surface lacking the pace and bounce to encourage attractive cricket. A surface encouraging canny medium-pacers and dart-like spinners. A surface that creates boring cricket.

All too often, new spectators will taste the game once and never return.

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