ICC rates Pindi wicket ‘below average’

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KARACHI: The Inter­national Cricket Council rated the pitch for the first Test between Pakistan and Australia below average after the match ended in a dull draw earlier this week.

There were only 14 wickets taken over the five days of Australia’s first Test in Pakistan since 1998. Pakis­tan scored 476-4 declared and 252 without loss with Australia replying with 449 all out as bowlers toiled and batters dominated on a lifeless flat track.

“The character of the pitch hardly changed over the course of five days and there was no deterioration apart from the bounce getting slightly lower,” Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee for the Test, said in a statement issued by the ICC.

“The pitch did not have a great deal of pace and bounce in it for the seamers nor assisted the spinners. In my view this does not represent an even contest between bat and ball. Therefore, in keeping with the ICC guidelines I rate this pitch as below average.”

Fans and commentators said the lifeless pitch spoiled Australia’s first Test in Pakis­tan for 24 years, after the team had previously decl­ined to visit on security grounds.

Under ICC rules, demerit points remain active for a rolling five-year period and if a venue accumulates five it is suspended from hosting international cricket for a year.

Reacting to the ICC’s decision, the Pakistan Cricket Board said it is undergoing a prokect to overhaul pitces in the country.

“We note and accept the ICC’s decision,” a PCB spokes­person said. “This is the first time any Pakistan venue has received a demerit point. The PCB wants to see and prepare pitches that provide even and exciting contest between the bat and the ball.

“In this regard and in line with the PCB Chairman’s vision, a massive project to overhaul and relay all pitc­hes in Pakistan is already underway.

“The PCB remains confident and optimistic that we will not only see good contests in the Karachi and Lahore Tests but in all future domestic international mat­ches as well.”