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October 26, 2020

Pindi Stadium set to host back-to-back matches


October 26, 2020

RAWALPINDI: As the Pindi Stadium has been selected to bear the unprecedented pressure of hosting six international matches in a 12-day time, three freshly curated pitches will be on offer to hold the three One-Day Internationals between Pakistan and Zimbabwe starting with the opening one on October 30.

Possibly never before one stadium of a Test-playing nation has hosted six internationals within 12 days. Though Sharjah has the distinction of hosting many international matches in a short period of time, it will be for the first time that a venue of a Test-playing country will host six matches in 12 days.

Pindi Stadium will go into history books as the only venue of Test-playing country which is set to host three One-Dayers and as many T20 internationals from October 30 to November 10.

“We have gone through the record books and have yet to see a stadium of Test-playing nation hosting six international matches in 12 days' time. Indeed this is a record as no such precedent is being found yet. Though neutral venue like Sharjah has hosted the bulk of matches within a specific time in the past,” a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official when contacted said.

The work overload could not deter curator Mohammad Ashraf's resolve to prepare supporting tracks for back to back limited-overs series.

Talking to 'The News' on Sunday, Ashraf declared that three freshly laid pitches will be on offer to host three ODIs.

"The pitches have been prepared to host three ODIs. They were not part of the action during the National T20 Cup hosted by this ground at the start of October. Separate pitches were used for that event."

Ashraf, however, disclosed that as many as seven pitches in all have been prepared for six matches scheduled at the venue.

"Four are those which were previously used for the National T20 Cup. The pitches will host T20 series and for the purpose these have been given the required 15 days rest. By the time T20 series will be played, these strips will be ready to host international matches."

The Pindi Stadium curator hoped that the wickets will be supportive one. "We are trying to prepare pitches that have ample opportunity for the batsmen to score runs and bowlers will be having good chances of taking wickets with the new ball."

Regarding the T20 series, Ashraf said that there would be no difference from the one seen during the National T20 Cup.

"The pitches will be full of runs and both teams will have equal opportunity to get big scores."

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Zimbabwe cricket teams will be checking at a local hotel in Islamabad on Monday where special bio-secure arrangements have been made for players and officials' safety.

When a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official was approached, he said that two separate floors have been booked for both teams in a local hotel in Islamabad. Both Zimbabwe and Pakistan teams will be housed separately and on different floors.

"No outsider will be allowed to enter on these floors as it will be totally dedicated to the teams," the PCB official said.

Zimbabwe team media manager Darlington Majonga when contacted said the Zimbabwe players had an off day on Sunday.

"There was no practice on Sunday as the team now will move to Islamabad and the practice venue will shift to Pindi Stadium," he said.