'Their infrastructure is not up to standards' - Ashwin echoes Pandya's word on West Indies cricket

The premier off-spinner also called out substandard training facilities and improper surfaces provided to touring teams under Cricket West Indies. 
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Hardik Pandya may have been criticised in certain corners for stating West Indies cricket has failed to provide the Indian team "basic necessities" on the ongoing tour, but premier off-spinner R Ashwin upheld the views expressed by his teammate and pressed home that the "infrastructure" in the Caribbean is indeed "not up to standards". 

Ashwin, who has now been to the region for multiple Test and limited-overs tours and was there for the recent World Test Championship (WTC) fixtures in Dominica and Trinidad, echoed Pandya's word on the facilities provided to the visiting side. 

While the major bone of contention for the ongoing trip has been delayed late-night flights which have denied players sleep for an early morning start for training or matches the next day, it seems Indian players have also been subjected to substandard net facilities. 

Being an experienced head in the game, Ashwin said such arrangements not only hurt the touring players, but also derail the progression route of the young players coming through the ranks in the West Indies set-up. When junior players subjected to poor facilities at the grassroots level face more developed and robust opposition cricketers at the highest level, they tend to stand exposed. 

Ashwin echoes Pandya's criticism of CWI on facilities 

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ashwin highlighted infrastructure provided to junior aspiring cricketers as key in any cricket-playing nation's rise at the highest level and shared his own experience from the two-match Test series played last month to stress home the point on substandard facilities in the Caribbean. 

"I feel that if cricket should improve in a country, the primary improvement should start from the infrastructure. Even the U10, U12, and U14 kids from their country should get a decent net and ground. They should get the accessibility to play their matches," Ashwin said. 

"This is a talent-driven sport and a hardworking sport. So, if a kid works hard, he or she will definitely get better. The infrastructure is really important."

The modern-day legend revealed how lack of grass on practice pitches and ancient-looking nets left the Indian team underprepared for the Test matches. He also insisted the curators in the region need to revisit their policy of preparing tracks and focus on reviving pace and bounce off the deck for pacers and spinners alike to create a watchable spectacle. 

"When it comes to West Indies, see, they are actually coming from different countries/islands like Antigua, Barbados, and they all represent West Indies together. So, if you ask me whether their infrastructure has developed well in all those islands? Actually, no."

"We played at the Barbados Test Center. While we practiced in the nets, there was no grass left on the surface. Their nets looked too old. I am not saying these things to blame them or anything. I actually feel really bad for them."

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Ashwin identifies pitches and poor training facilities as one major reason behind the sad and unarrested decline of West Indies cricket. "If the infrastructure is like this in their Test center, then how hard their cricketers should work to get better?" he asked. "Because once they practice under these conditions and suddenly, when they come to India and play on a slightly quicker surface, it will be difficult for them to adjust."

"The pitches have become slower in West Indies. We should put a lot of effort into pitch maintenance. They are just cutting the grass and rolling it through in the name of pitch maintenance. I have already spoken about this topic. That's the easiest way to prepare a pitch. Because then the pitch will become dead and slow."

"Once the cut grass gets air and with time, the pitch will start turning. Obviously, there was a bit of effort in pitch maintenance during the Test series from their end. But their infrastructure is not up to the standards when compared with other international teams," he added.