Karachi: Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja has admitted the home nation prepared a lifeless Rawalpindi pitch in a bid to nullify Australia’s fast bowling unit during a forgetful draw.
As the Rawalpindi curators come under fire for preparing a pitch that offered little to either bowling attacks, with only 14 wickets taken across the five days, Ramiz has shed light on Pakistan’s ploy to not let Australia gain an early advantage in the three-Test series.
A day after Australia finished with four wickets for 728 runs in the first Test, Ramiz, the former Pakistan international, recorded a video posted on the official PCB Twitter page where he discussed the pitch and the unremarkable finish to Pakistan’s first Test against Australia on home soil since 1998.
“I understand the frustration of the fans,” said Ramiz, in translated comments published by ESPN. “Undoubtedly it would have been very good if we had a result but this is a three-Test series and we need to understand that a lot of cricket still remains to be played.
“Just for the heck of it, we can’t prepare a fast pitch or a bouncy pitch and put the game in Australia’s lap.”
Umpire Aleem Dar talks with Nathan Lyon (left) and Pat Cummins.Credit:
The International Cricket Council is yet to hand down its pitch rating, which is expected to be on the lower end of the spectrum.
The second Test begins on Saturday in Karachi; a venue where the visitors have never won a Test.
Australian captain Pat Cummins said after the match it was obvious Pakistan didn’t want the pace trio of himself, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc to cause too much damage.
Australia has won just three matches ever in Pakistan.
“[It was a] pitch that is probably not a traditional pitch you’d get here in Rawalpindi,” Cummins said. “It was probably clear they tried to nullify the pace bowling. I think that’s a positive.”
Ramiz said Pakistan were entitled to prepare whatever pitches that suited their team.
“It’s important that when we play at home, we play to our strengths,” Ramiz said. “We also had limited resources unfortunately. Our opening-ball pair was disturbed because Hasan Ali and Faheem ]Ashraf] were both unfit. Similarly we had a brand-new opening pair. Abdullah Shafique had only played two to three matches and we were keeping a worrisome eye on his form. Imam-ul-Haq was also making a comeback.
“A drawn match is never a good advertisement for Test cricket and I totally understand that we need to get a result in five days these days. We get it 90 per cent [of the time].”
Karachi pitches have favoured spin in recent times and Ramiz hinted dry pitch would be on the cards.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja. Credit:AP
First pictures emerged on Wednesday of the Karachi pitch, ahead of the teams’ first training sessions on Thursday.
“Fans should understand that we will make every effort to have a result-oriented series but you can’t wave a magic wand and get green pitches or result-oriented pitches,” Ramiz said. “We need to beat Australia and we need to prepare our strategy accordingly. The strategy is for low-bouncy tracks where reverse can happen, where LBW and bowled will be in play, where our spinners can show their performance and where the batters, who have grown up on low-bounce pitches, can utilise that advantage.
“I want to say again that it wasn’t a good advertisement but keep your morale high and keep watching. It’s a big achievement to have brought so many great Australian players here and on an individual level, there’s a lot to look forward to, from both the Pakistan team and the Australian team.
“I hope that this series, going forward, will become more interesting but only one match is done, so don’t jump the gun, there’s a lot of cricket to be played.”
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