The pitch for the ongoing Rawalpindi Test between Pakistan and England has become a topic of discussion in the cricket fraternity.
Batting first, England piled up a mammoth 657/10 at a rapid pace of 6.5 an over with their four batters – Harry Brook (153), Zak Crawley (122), Ben Duckett (107) and Ollie Pope (108) – smashing centuries.
In reply, the hosts were 181/0 at stumps on Day 2 with opening batters Abdullah Shafique (89) and Imam-ul-Haq (90) nearing centuries.
No wonder, the Rawalpindi track is drawing flak from all quarters. On Friday (December 2), PCB chairman Ramiz Raja broke his silence on the criticism, calling it an "embarrassment".
However, former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi slammed him for sounding confused on the matter regarding the preparation of Test match pitches.
"I have really not cracked the code regarding a Test match pitch, unfortunately. Absolutely (disappointed with this pitch). The reason why I'm stressing on drop-in pitches in Pakistan is because you'll go to Multan and Karachi, and you'll get a similar flavor. We don't get bounce, it's to do with clay, how we prepare a pitch - I don't know what's happening," Ramiz said while speaking to BBC Test Match Special.
Ramiz's comment left Afridi shocked as the latter lambasted the PCB chief for trying to tinker with the usual Rawalpindi track.
"The way Ramiz was speaking...I mean I was shocked to listen him saying that we cannot make tracks like these. International matches have been going on in Pakistan for such a long time but then we say stuff like these. Ramiz said that he wanted a turning track I feel in this weather it would have been something big. Rawalpindi track has always been for the fast bowlers with seam and bounce. Why did they even change it? We now fear losing this Test and we want to win but don't know the technique," Afridi told Samaa TV.
"If we are talking about the Rawalpindi pitch, I have never seen a track like this. I have a lot of domestic games as well there, but I have never seen a pitch like this which is so flat. It reminded me of Faisalbad or Sialkot track. The four big venues - Multan, Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi - I have seen fast bowlers enjoy those tracks because of the bounce. In fact, there was a time when we used to see a lot many fast bowlers coming from Rawalpindi," he added.