VOX POP: What do young players think can be done to improve English cricket?

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The Independent Online
STEVEN HARMISON

DURHAM

I tend to agree with Justin Langer that there is a comfort zone of too many players happy with three-year contracts and then just going through the motions. We also play too much and as a fast bowler it can be hard work. I've only really played a season and a half and I've found it knackering. Fitness is important but so is rest, especially as a quickie. At Durham there are a lot of young players and they are hungry but that is because we are all still new to the game and haven't got jaded. Ask me again in a few years.

MATTHEW BULBECK

SOMERSET

We don't get the time to practise so we have to cram everything into a few weeks at pre-season. The pitches could also do with being a bit flatter. I know it sounds strange as a bowler, but we'd have to work harder for wickets and that is more like Test cricket. Fewer games and more practice would keep everyone focused and motivated. It's great playing for England Under-19s but maybe you should remain in your county first team where you learn more and let another youngster experience the youth Tests.

ROBERT KEY

KENT

There are too many players on county staffs. There should be a maximum of 20 or even fewer and players should have performance related pay rather than decent basic salaries. The splitting into divisions is good though hard games are tiring, which is what everyone wants, but after them you need to rest. Four-day cricket is excellent when the games last that long, so improve the pitches and make both batters and bowlers work hard - that would improve the game and the Test side.

GRAEME SWANN

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Forty-five over cricket under lights is excellent for attracting people to the game and great fun to play. Four-day cricket if we can get a better consistent quality of pitches is good because three-day cricket is too contrived. Good four-day stuff will benefit England. I like two divisions because anything that adds more competition can only be good. Maybe we play a little too much but if you love the game it shouldn't matter. Other than that, not a lot, except longer tea breaks please. I never have time to change my socks.

VIKRAM SOLANKI

WORCESTERSHIRE

We went to four-day cricket to produce better cricketers and help prepare players for international cricket and so it seems odd that we produce pitches that prevent a lot of the games from getting to the final day. I like two divisions to add competition, but not if it means result wickets are the norm. A lot of the so-called problems would be solved by improving the pitches. In fact it is a must. Nothing radical need happen, possibly harsher penalties on counties, but it would benefit batsmen, bowlers and England.

MICHAEL GOUGH

ENGLAND UNDER-19 CAPTAIN

This is only my second season so I haven't really got any established opinions on the state of the game, I'm just thankful to be playing it. There is a lot of talk about a comfort zone in county cricket but I've never noticed it and there certainly isn't one at Durham, but maybe that's because we haven't had much success so far and so are working harder to improve. I am captain of the England Under-19s and I'm so proud when I walk out on the pitch. That's what I have always wanted.

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