Andy Atkinson, the ICC's pitch consultant, has warned that pitches around the world are becoming too batsman-friendly, largely because of the volume of cricket played.
Several Test matches this year have been dominated by high-scoring draws, notably in Karachi and Barbados, which produced first-innings totals of 600 and 700. Atkinson believes the increase in one-day and Twenty20 cricket has affected the skill of producing surfaces that promote an even battle.
"With the huge amount of one-day and Twenty20 cricket around the world, it seems that some people have forgotten the art of preparing a five-day pitch," he wrote in the May issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine. "The quality of the surfaces might be improving but that doesn't mean the pitches are better for cricket as a whole. It's about getting the right balance and it is now too far in favour of the batsman. It needs to come back towards the bowler."
He highlighted the pitches during the recent West Indies-England series, which produced one positive result in Jamaica before three bat-dominated draws with the run-fest in Barbados proving the most one-sided confrontation.
"It was very disappointing to see how bland some of the pitches were during England's recent Test series," Atkinson said. "Most of them are new pitches laid specifically for the World Cup in 2007 and yet they seem to have deteriorated since then."
However, Atkinson insisted that the current state of pitches is not coming because of demands from the ICC for similar playing surfaces. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "The ICC wants to preserve the primacy of Test cricket and part of that is having pitches that produce good games, not bore draws. They want pace and even bounce but beyond that they want pitches to retain their local, traditional characteristics like seam in England or spin in India."