It was supposed to be a historic occasion with Test cricket returning to Pakistan soil after a period of ten years and nine months. But, then, Rawalpindi’s weather decided to play a spoilsport, turning the marquee occasion into a damp squib. The fourth day of the first Test match at the Rawalpindi Cricket Ground saw just 5.2 overs bowled before the rain and bad light brought a premature end to the proceedings, as it did on the third day where only 18 balls were bowled.
A total of 91.5 overs have been bowled across the first four days, and questions have begun to galore for the Pakistan Cricket Board on their decision of scheduling the Test match in Rawalpindi when they very well knew that extreme weather conditions of December were always going to play a part. The PCB has now come up with its explanation of staging the Test match in Rawalpindi.
“According to the original FTP schedule and if all was well, Sri Lanka should have been here for the white-ball cricket, while they would have completed their red-ball assignment in September/October. However, the matches were swapped to give the SLC a little taste and flavour that Pakistan was safe to play cricket. As such, white-ball matches, which presently have no contest, were held in September or October. The PCB’s strategy worked as Sri Lanka are nowhere for the WTC Tests,” said the spokesman as quoted by thenews.com.pk
The spokesperson also defended the decision to pick Rawalpindi as one of the venues for the two-match Test series. He said, “This time of the year, only Karachi and Rawalpindi can stage Tests. Lahore is not available due to smog and rains, while Multan and Peshawar are in the up-gradation process. That left only Karachi as the venue that could have staged full cricket. Back-to-back Tests at the same venue, I am not too sure would have gone down well locally and internationally.”
‘Didn’t want Pakistan to look like a two-venue country’: PCB
The official also asserted that another reason behind PCB awarding the Test to Pindi was the board didn’t want for Pakistan to look a two-venue country. This was the first time that Pindi was hosting a Test match since 2004.
“The PCB strategically awarded this Test to Rawalpindi so that Pakistan doesn’t look like a two-venue country. Please remember Pindi Cricket Stadium is also one of the venues for HBL PSL 2020, whose all 34 matches will be held in Pakistan” said the official.
There were suggestions by the folklore that the first Test should have been staged in Karachi. However, the official said, that had that been the case the weather conditions of Rawalpindi would have made it impossible to stage the second Test at the venue at the backend of December.
“If Karachi had staged the first Test, it would have been impossible to allow any cricket in Rawalpindi due to extreme weather conditions from mid-December onwards. The first Test against Sri Lanka couldn’t start before 11 December as the Pakistan cricket team only returned from Australia on 6 December,” he concluded.
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