We didn’t want to play into Australia’s hands, says Ramiz on pitch criticism

LAHORE - PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja on Wednesday defended the use of a flat track for the first Test, saying they did not want play into Australia’s hands by preparing a track that would assist pace and bounce.
The series-opener ended in a high scoring dull draw on Tuesday. The Rawalpindi track, where Just 14 wickets fall in five days with 1,187 runs scored by both teams, drew criticism from some former players, critics and fans alike. “I understand fans’ frustration and a result would have been good but this is a three-match series. We need to remember that there is a lot of cricket to come,” Ramiz said in a video message released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “Just for the heck of it, we don’t want to prepare a fast and bouncy pitch and play into Australia’s hands.”
He conceded that the Pindi pitch was not a good advertisement for Test cricket but backed the track. “You must understand Pakistan team had limited resources for the Test and our bowling line up was disturbed as well with Faheem and Hasan not available and Yasir Shah also unfit,” he said. “Similarly, we had a brand-new opening pair – Abdullah Shafique had only played 2-3 matches, and we were keeping a worrisome eye on his form, and whether he could handle such a good bowling attack or not. Imam-ul-Haq was also making a comeback.
“So when your opening batting pair and bowling pair are both disturbed and raw, you can’t take chances. Our legspinner wasn’t ready, Yasir Shah was unfit, so we got on the field with an under-resourced 15, and Australia, don’t forget, are a global powerhouse, and were coming here after winning the Ashes. We respect their talent. So we couldn’t go into experimental mode so early, keeping our strengths in mind. “I understand that we have gained a lot of confidence from this performance. The batting has sparkled, and on the bowling front, a spinner [Nauman Ali] has taken six wickets. So these are bright points,” he added.
He said the pitch was prepared accordingly. “I am totally for having better pitches in Pakistan but I took charge in September and the season had already started. Remember one requires at least five to six months to prepare a pitch. “When the season finishes you will see that we are bringing in soil from Australia and we are experimenting here with soil experts. We will redo 50-60 pitches all over Pakistan as soon as our season ends in March-April,” he said.
Former batter Inzamam-ul-haq said it felt rather weird to see a Test match ending in a high scoring draw. “Nowadays if a Test is drawn it feels strange and I can’t remember the last time we had a test where so many runs were scored and the pitch was flat. “You knew it was going to be a draw from the first day. I am hopeful, the pitch will undoubtedly be more sporting (in next Test). You help spinners by making a turning pitch. You take advantage of the home field advantage, but don’t make a dead pitch,” he said.

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