The Rawalpindi ground, where England scored a record 506 in the opening day of the Test series against Pakistan on Thursday, has come under scrutiny from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who faced huge criticism for preparing a failed -reactive surface. As many as four batters scored their respective tons as England finished with a monumental 675 runs in the first innings. PCB chief Ramiz Raja eventually broke his silence on the matter, calling it an “embarrassment”, but former Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi ridiculed him for sounding perplexed over the issue regarding test match field preparation.
Speaking to BBC Test Match Special on Friday, Ramiz admitted he said: “Unfortunately I really haven’t cracked the code regarding a test match field. Absolutely (disappointed with this field). The reason why I emphasize drop- in pitches in Pakistan is because you go to Multan and Karachi, and you get a similar taste. We don’t get a bounce, it has to do with clay, how we prepare a pitch – I don’t know what’s going on.”
Afridi was left “shocked” to hear Ramiz’s comment about the course, berating the chairman for trying to tinker with the usual Rawalpindi course, which was a favorite venue for fast bowlers all year round.
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“The way Ramiz spoke… I mean I was shocked to hear him say that we can’t do songs like this. International competitions have been going on for so long in Pakistan, but then we say things like this. Ramiz said he wanted a spinning lane I think with this weather it would have been something big Rawalpindi lane has always been for the fast bowlers with seam and bounce Why did they even change it We are now afraid to test this to lose and we want to win, but don’t know the technique,” he told Samaa TV.
A year ago, when South Africa played a test match against Pakistan at the same venue, it had turned out to be a thriller of a match over five days with scores in each inning between 200 and 300. In fact, Pakistani pacers picked 18 wickets out of 20 in their seven-wicket victory.
“If we talk about Rawalpindi pitch, I have never seen such a court. I have also played many home games there, but I have never seen such a pitch which is so flat. It reminded me of Faisalbad or Sialkot’s track. The four major venues – Multan, Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi – I’ve seen fast bowlers enjoy those tracks because of the bounce. In fact, there was a time when we saw a lot of fast bowlers coming out of Rawalpindi,” added Afridi.