PAK v ENG 2022: “We live in dark ages of pitches in Pakistan," Ramiz Raja feels drop-in pitches can solve problem

The ongoing Rawalpindi Test has produced over 800 runs in the first two days.

Pakistan were on 181/0 at stumps on Day 2 | GettyPakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has come under the scanner over the state of the pitch in the ongoing Rawalpindi Test between Pakistan and England.

Opting to bat first, England piled up a mammoth 657/10 in their first innings at a rapid pace of 6.5 an over with four batters namely Harry Brook (153), Zak Crawley (122), Ben Duckett (107) and Ollie Pope (108) smashing centuries.

In reply, the hosts were on 181/0 at stumps on Day 2 with opening batters Abdullah Shafique (89) and Imam-ul-Haq (90) nearing centuries.

After the second day’s play, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja expressed his disappointment over the pitch, admitting that it was “not a great advert" for Test cricket.

“We live in the dark ages of pitches in Pakistan," Ramiz told reporters, adding, “it’s embarrassing for us, especially if you have a cricketer as chairman."

Earlier this year, the Rawalpindi Test between Pakistan and Australia was also a high-scoring draw as 1,187 runs were scored for the loss of just 14 wickets.

In fact, the pitch was deemed “below average" by International Cricket Council match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who also awarded it a demerit point.

After the scrutiny, the PCB chief brought in Australian specialist Damien Hough, who advocated for the removable drop-in pitches.

“I think our way out is for drop-in pitches," Raja said. “If you want to nail England, for example, we’ve got to prepare a drop-in pitch that turns from ball number one.

“It is better than having this hodge-podge where you get a half-baked pitch which is neither quick nor spin."

Ramiz Raja was also effusive in praise of England’s fearless batting approach, which they have adopted ever since Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes assumed the roles of the head coach and captain respectively.

"England were just brilliant. The only time Pakistan didn't concede 30 runs in a five-minute spell was when they were taking DRS. It was fabulous, the best advertisement of how to absolutely nail a dull pitch with exciting batting. Teams would have got 350-400 for three wickets but this was sensational. There was clarity and a fearless approach. I was not expecting this kind of batting," he stated.

“We’re seeing a new template in Test match cricket, which is taking the game to the opposition,” Ramiz said. “There’s been a solid planning and a solid thought behind the entire exercise. It’s not like the button has switched on where you suddenly produce four centuries and a score of 500 in a day.

“We want Pakistan to change course. Let’s see whether we are able to do that or not, but it will take time for sub-continent teams to have that kind of mentality.”

(With inputs from Agencies)


By Salman Anjum - 02 Dec, 2022

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