PCB chairman slams Rawalpindi pitch as ’embarrassing’ as bowlers toil in Test

The Rawalpindi pitch on which England achieved a world record 506 runs on the first day of the first test was “embarrassing” according to PCB chairman Ramiz Raja. Ramiz referred to Pakistan as living in “the dark ages of field preparation” as a result of a decade-long hiatus from Test cricket in the country and said it would take at least another season for the quality of the fields to begin to improve.

“It’s embarrassing for us, especially when you have a cricketer as chairman,” Ramiz told media during the lunch break on the second day of the test. “This is not a good advertisement for cricket. We are a better cricket country than this.”

The quality of Test match pitches has become a matter of intense scrutiny, in fact since the day Ramiz took over the presidency last year when he pledged to bring drop-in pitches to Pakistan. While such talks have continued rapidly over the past 15 months, there has been no tangible progress on this front, with Ramiz describing the cost of having them shipped from abroad as prohibitive.

“Ultimately, the only situation is a drop-in field. That is extremely expensive if we get it from abroad. Instead, we’re developing soil here for drop-in fields. wickets, depending on what we want.

“This is not a case of leaving no grass on the field. The grass looks good from an optics point of view. We need to create resilience, which can happen without grass, as happens on Australian fields. They don’t leave lots.” grass on the field We are getting several fields in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

“We have the same pitches because we get the same kind of ground. We tried to get a curator from abroad; we had to get a curator from Australia for the Lahore Test, because the situation got out of hand. When I wanted a spinning pitch, We don’t understand that either, so it will end up being half and half. We don’t want that.”

While Ramiz suggested there were structural issues undermining field preparation in Pakistan, until Australia’s visit to Rawalpindi in March there was relatively little controversy over the quality of the test series surfaces. The field for that match yielded 14 wickets in five days, receiving a poor rating and penalty from the ICC.

Pindi was recently regarded as Pakistan’s spiciest test ground, the one that provided the bowlers with the most help. When South Africa visited in January 2021, the Test at Rawalpindi was something of a classic, with all four innings bringing scores between 200 and 300, leading to a thrilling climax on day five.

Eighteen of South Africa’s 20 wickets fell to Pakistani pace bowlers, an advantage that Ramiz recognized Pakistan should take advantage of. Even the surface in Karachi produced an enthralling match at the time, with Pakistan triumphing by seven wickets on the final day.

Ramiz’s repeated speech about reviewing pitches in Pakistan has led to criticism that the PCB chairman is micromanaging their preparation. That speculation isn’t entirely unwarranted either, as Ramiz is flying in Toby Lumsden, a former trustee at the MCG, to help with the surface of the Gaddafi Stadium ahead of the third Test against Australia.

However, Ramiz insisted that he not interfere with the preparation of individual test match fields. “The board doesn’t decide how pitches are made. I left that to the think tank. We look at our strengths and then the pitch and then make selections. I try to limit my involvement, because otherwise I can’t address people.” “Responsibility means relinquishing control. I aim to create a pitch that ultimately determines our tactics, so that a template is established.

“We live in the dark ages of fields in Pakistan. They are not shown in T20 and 50 overs but they are in Test cricket. We lived in an apartheid situation where teams did not come here. Pakistani players had played 70 Tests without playing here. is an achievement that we managed to keep afloat we tried everything, got a curator from abroad Fields are the lifeblood of cricket in a country but having said that I’ve never seen batting quite like that of England on Day 1 neither.”

Pakistan had no problems in their own first innings, as England were finally dismissed for 657, if not so explosively. With little seam movement or intermittent bounce, Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq came back to a 150-run unbeaten run. In the Rawalpindi test against Australia in March, the same pair put up an unbeaten 252 for the opening partnership on the fifth day.

However, Ramiz warned that there would be little immediate improvement in that situation. “This will improve by next season. Unfortunately we will see the same kind of pitches for the New Zealand series.”

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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