The Rawalpindi pitch hosting the first Test between England and Pakistan has come under heavy scrutiny for its lacklustre nature. At a time where cricket boards are trying everything to desperately revive Test cricket, the ‘unsporting’ surface in Rawalpindi has only upset cricket fans and pundits all over the world.
Batting first, England smashed 657 in their first innings – out of which 506 were scored on the first day itself with as many as four batters notching up centuries. After several former Pakistan and England cricketers had slammed the PCB for arranging a wicket unsuitable for Test cricket, PCB chief Ramiz Raja has finally addressed the situation admitting that it was indeed a very ‘dull pitch’.
“It was just brilliant batting. The only time Pakistan did not concede 30 runs in a 5-minute spell was one they were taking DRS. It was fabulous – the best advertisement for how to absolutely nail a dull pitch with exciting batting,” Raja told BBC Test Match Special.
Another reason behind the criticism is due to PCB’s reluctance to learn from their previous mistake. Earlier this year, when Australia had toured Pakistan for a three-match Test series, the same issues surrounding the pitch had surfaced. Back in March, the first two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi, ended in high-scoring draws before Australia won the series by securing a 115-run win.
Voices were raised back then as well, with fingers being pointed at the quality of pitches, with the ICC event rating the Rawalpindi pitch as below average. But it seems as if the PCB has taken a deaf ear to whatever that was being said. After the opening day, Pakistan coach Saqlain Mushtaq in fact defended the surface and expected it to get better by the third day.
“I think today is only the first day of this Test match, and we are already discussing the future. The behaviour of the pitch changes in Test cricket with wear and tear. We should give a lot of credit to England, but this Test match will be very exciting,” he had told reporters after stumps on Day 1.
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