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Tuesday January 31, 2023

ICC revokes 'below average status' of Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium

Cricket body also withdraws demerit points slapped on the stadium

January 23, 2023
An undated photograph of the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. — PCB
An undated photograph of the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. — PCB

KARACHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday revoked the "below average" status given to the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, while retracting the demerit points slapped on the stadium following the 'Pakistan vs England Test' in December 2022.

The development comes after the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Najam Sethi-led management committee appealed against the ICC's verdict.

In an official statement, the ICC said: "Following an appeal by the Pakistan Cricket Board pursuant to the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, the demerit point handed to the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium for a 'below average' pitch rating for the first match of the ICC World Test Championship series between Pakistan and England from 1 to 5 December last year has been rescinded."

"There were several redeeming features — including the fact that a result was achieved following a compelling game, with 37 out of a possible 39 wickets being taken. As such, the appeal panel concluded that the wicket did not warrant the 'below average' rating," it stated.

The ICC made the announcement of rescinding the demerit point on Monday. Taking to Twitter, the ICC stated: "Demerit point handed to the Rawalpindi pitch after the first #PAKvENG Test match has been rescinded."

Andy Pycroft, the match referee, last month had rated the stadium's pitch that was used for the first match of the ICC World Test Championship series between Pakistan and England as "below average" and the venue was then given one demerit point under the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process.

“It was a very flat pitch which gave almost no assistance to any type of bowler," Pycroft was quoted as saying by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in a press release.

"That was the main reason why batters scored very fast and both sides posted huge totals.

"The pitch hardly deteriorated during the course of the match.

“Since there was very little in it for the bowlers, I found the pitch to be 'below average' as per the ICC guidelines." 

The same rating was given to the pitch after Pakistan's Test against Australia in March 2022.

Demerit points remain active for a rolling five-year period and when a venue accumulates five demerit points it is suspended from staging any international cricket for a period of 12 months.

Ramiz Raja, then-chairman of PCB, had termed the wicket embarrassing. However, Sethi — who had replaced Raja a few days after Rawalpindi Test — went to ICC and appealed against the decision.

"We did write a strong letter to ICC on this. I am glad that the decision has come in our favour," Sethi said after ICC accepted Pakistan's appeal.