ISLAMABAD: Former Test cricketer Col (rtd) Naushad Ali, who also worked as an ICC Match Referee, has lamented missing the opportunity to make Test cricket more attractive by preparing a spineless pitch for the first match against England at the Pindi Stadium.
“Test is a dying format of cricket. The crowds at the stadiums and people watching on the mini screen are more interested in limited overs format. Surprisingly we are making no efforts to keep the charm of Test cricket. A wicket like the one at the Pindi Stadium won't help the game. The three days have already seen seven centuries and taking wickets is not all that easy here. So it is a sort of bad publicity for Test cricket which ultimately takes the audience away from the five-day cricket,” he said.
“This pitch is famous for helping seamers and even getting results in four days. Admitted that home conditions should favour the hosts but preparing a placid pitch where the likes of James Anderson look an ordinary bowler would serve no one,” he said.
Naushad said that England’s newly formed aggressive style should have been exploited to Pakistan’s benefit. “Look English side has shown a tendency of aggression even in Test cricket in the recent past. This trend should have been exploited by preparing a low-spinning track. I am sure that the tourists would have found it difficult to cope with that situation. I believe our think-tank has missed a trick here and that was to prepare a pitch most suited to Pakistan type of play. Every touring squad faces problems in adjusting at the start of the tour.”
Naushad felt sorry for the enthusiastic crowd that turned up in numbers to watch the action live on the ground. “Apart from the team perspective such a pitch also doesn't serve the cricket enthusiasts who waited for decades for England to return to Pakistan for Test series. Cricket enthusiasts want results in Test because of the growing impact of limited-overs cricket. Usually, we see results in Test matches these days but at the Pindi Stadium where each team struggles to bowl the opposition out, a result looks unlikely. I think one of the main objectives should be to entertain fans and keep them interested in Test cricket," he said.
The former ICC match referee praised the crowd for making the proceedings lively with their presence. “I think crowd role has been exceptional during the last three days. They not only turned out at the ground regularly in numbers, they have kept cheering players despite the fact the chances of a result are remote.”