Justin Langer has endorsed WACA club cricket as the foundation of WA's future first-class success but is wary of several disturbing traits creeping into the competition.
Concerns over poor pitches, particularly at successful clubs Joondalup, Bayswater-Morley and Willetton, deteriorating player behaviour, questionable bowling actions and poor umpiring standards have been exacerbated by fears of results being contrived as the season comes to an end.
The issue came to a head on Sunday in a game at Hillcrest Oval between Bayswater and Midland-Guildford when two declarations set up an outright result for the home team.
Although the Warriors coach praised the exciting finish to the match as an ideal environment for the intense cricket that would benefit future State players, observers were aghast at the tactics used to bring on Bayswater's declaration.
Senior players said they were embarrassed when Midland fielders allowed the ball to run to the boundary as Bayswater openers Aaron Todd and Simon Allison put on an unbeaten century stand.
And Langer was wary of allowing the worst traits of county cricket to creep into the local competition.
"A brilliant game of cricket was played that was close and competitive and came down to the last over," Langer said.
"That's better than players just going through the motions.
"But I'm not a fan of the ball being thrown up to set up a target which happens in county cricket."
Langer confirmed that he saw club cricket as an essential element to improving WA's cricket fortunes.
He requires State-contracted players to play for clubs when they are not required by the Warriors.
"Club cricket will be the foundation of WA's success going forward," Langer said.
"It needs to be strong and competitive but it also needs to be played on good pitches.
"There have been a lot of outright results and a lot of bowlers getting wickets cheaply and I wonder whether that is due to the quality of the players or the pitches."
Teams have been dismissed for 104 or fewer 21 times this season with the lowest three 23, 38 and 58.The WACA is also concerned that a senior association administrator was reported last week for confronting an umpire during a third-grade match.
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