Benign dead wicket could only produce what we saw in Rawalpindi

Published: 11:19 PM, 10 Mar, 2022
Benign dead wicket could only produce what we saw in Rawalpindi
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A draw match with a world-class team like Australia was not something that Pakistani cricket fans had ever dreamt of. Watching the result of the first Test match between Pakistan and Australia, it seems that Pakistan Cricket Board has chalked out a policy that the first match of the series would be considered as a practice match as both teams did not get ample time to adjust to the new conditions. Pakistani players had joined the team after playing the Pakistan Super League and Australia also did not have a practice match to adjust to the new situation.

Cricket fans, who were expecting a nail-biting competition between the two top teams of the Test Championship, were highly disappointed as they could see only 14 dismissals in the five days of play. The match that was being played after 24 years ended in a draw and at no point in the match, did the spectators feel any excitement regarding the results. This no result has resulted in erupting a debate on the need of preparing supportive wickets both for bowlers and batters.

PCB is the main culprit in this regard who manages the cricket in Pakistan. They were so focused on PSL that they hardly thought of the upcoming series of Australia which included three Test matches. The wicket where the first Test match of the series was played is considered ideal for limited cricket where batters could set heavy targets for the oppositions. PCB had to answer the question what was the intention behind preparing such a dead wicket? Chairman PCB Ramiz Raja came up with a strange answer. He held the old management of the PCB responsible for this benign wicket. “It takes four to five months to prepare a proper Test wicket”, Ramiz tried to clarify. But now nobody is ready to listen to this lame excuse.

Greatest Test cricketer of the current era, Steve Smith has also shown his displeasure on the condition of the Rawalpindi wicket by declaring it DEAD BENIGN. “There is not a great deal of pace and bounce in it for the seamers that is for sure”, Smith further commented. He declared it a little friendly for spinners when rough patches were made after two days of play. Pakistan’s unavailable fast bowler Muhammad Aamir made a mockery of the wicket by saying that there was no need for fast bowlers and they should have gone home as batters could bowl each other.

Muhammad Hafeez considered this historic Test match disastrous for Pakistan cricket. “What is the use of that Test match were even on the second day it was evident there would be no result”, Muhammad Hafeez raised a serious question. Hafeez said that dead wickets would disappoint the cricket lovers and no one wanted to watch such cricket. “It makes no difference if it is a slow wicket then at least support the spinners”, Hafeez argued.

Aqib Javed was also critical of the pitch condition by declaring it unfair with the cricket as there must be excited for the result of the match that could engage the viewers. Aqib further added, “I am not saying that we make a pitch like Perth but at least a turning wicket could have been made. We should have befitted from our conditions by giving a better opportunity to our spinners”. Aqib declared Pakistani spin attack more effective than Australia which often relies on just Nathan Lyon. Aqib advised the captain to should think aggressively and push for those wickets where he could get results in favor of Pakistan. The time has passed when people were used to watching drawn matches. Every country has its conditions and different nature of the soil and every team has the opportunity to get an advantage from it.

After the attacks on the Sri Lankan team in 2009 Pakistan has been mostly deprived of international cricket, which forced PCB to opt for UAE stadiums as their home grounds. This was a good move but at the same time, PCB did not focus on the improvement of local grounds and pitches. In recent years Pakistan mostly hosted limited-overs series. Though South Africa, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka played Test Cricket in Pakistan it did prove enough to wake the PCB up. Experts suggest our Test venues need up-gradation. Former Captain Muhammad Hafeez suggests, “Grounds should be provided with the equipment. We cannot even cover the ground properly. Our curators don’t have modern equipment to prepare pitches to support competitive cricket.”

Now the focus is on National Stadium Karachi where the second Test is scheduled to begin on March 12. Pakistan has a very good record in Karachi and they have lost just two matches in the National stadium. Cricket fans are expecting a supportive wicket that could produce competitive cricket. If it does not happen that would be the negligence of the PCB.

Categories : Opinion
Khurram Kaleem

The writer is a senior journalist and currently working as Director Programming Channel 24NEWS