Kevin Pietersen blames county structure for England's spin troubles

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Kevin Pietersen blames the "archaic structure" of English domestic cricket for the Test team's series defeat against Pakistan - and is calling for an overhaul.

The estranged batsman - currently playing Ram Slam Twenty20 cricket in South Africa, the country of his birth, after being exiled from his adopted national team by the England and Wales Cricket Board - is calling on the governing body to bring in a raft of changes.

He voiced his remedies for England's setback in the United Arab Emirates on the website BreatheSport - including national co-ordination of groundsmen to prepare suitable pitches, and the reduction of county clubs.

"The players are not to blame," Pietersen said, of England's 2-0 defeat against Pakistan over the past month.

"You cannot have the surfaces you're playing on in county cricket and think that the pool of players (available) to pick from, just a level down from the international Test stars, are going to be good enough to fill the gap and play well in these conditions."

England's spinners were drastically outbowled by their opposite numbers and the tourists also suffered two batting collapses which put them on course for defeats in the second and third Tests.

"You can't have spinners bowling on green wickets (just) because counties want results," said Pietersen.

"You just can't have it."

Peter Such, the ECB's lead spin coach at the National Cricket Performance Centre, insists the county game is "a massive part of the solution" but agrees with Pietersen on the need for more receptive wickets.

"We need to find a way to get those overs into our young bowlers," he said.

"Ideally you want an environment that is more spin-friendly - and the surfaces we play on are the most important factor in that, it determines so much of the game we play."

Pietersen, though, advocates drastic measures including trimming the number of counties, a proposal which has been heard many times in recent years.

"What needs to happen is the counties need to be shrunk," he said. "There need to be less teams.

"You need fast bowlers only playing eight to 10 first-class games over six months. They can then bowl fast for six months.

"You need spinners bowling on Test match wickets, so that they learn to bowl on them.

"You need batsmen knowing they've got to bat long, and really well, to get runs.

"The whole environment then becomes a lot more Test-equipped."

Playing conditions in England reflect the climate, very different to what has confronted Alastair Cook's Test team in the UAE desert.

Pietersen believes a culture change is the only way to make England competitive away from home - by providing pitches which prepare county players for the step up.

"They [will then] know they're not going to be playing on a green seamer, and having a two-day game because 'dibbly-dobblies' are going to knock you over," he added.

"Things need to happen. The ECB needs to manage all the [groundsmen] - they need to prepare Test wickets.

"We cannot blame the players in this situation. The structure is to blame.

"It is archaic, and it needs to change."

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