The Karachi wicket has left bowlers wondering just what they had done to deserve such treatment. They got neither movement nor spin from the pitch, and the batsmen thrashed them with a devil-may-care attitude, raising mountain of runs in almost every match.
The Karachi curator Ehsan Arai, however, comes out in strong defence of the wicket.
“Tell me, what’s an ideal ODI wicket?” he asks, before offering an answer on his own. “An ideal ODI wicket is one which retains it character right through the match, not allowing the team batting first or second any undue advantage.
“The teams here have piled up more than 300 quite consistently, and we have seen such scores chased down quite a few times,” he said.
But surely the bowlers didn’t have any support from the pitch?
“Look, the ODI wickets have to be batsmen friendly, and it’s the just the case here. Moreover, I don’t think there wasn’t anything for the bowlers. The wicket had good bounce and some bowlers did exploit it,” he said.
Arai, however, agreed that the wicket offered little movement or spin to the bowlers, but attributed this to the hot weather conditions.
“Just see the heat we are playing in. It's not possible to get much movement off the wicket or in the air in such conditions,”he said.
As for the lack of spin, he said they couldn’t afford to leave any assistance for spinners in the wicket.
“It’s terribly hot here and we had to keep the wicket really firm and hard, thereby denying help to spinners. If we hadn’t kept the wicket really hard, it would have crumbled in such heat and made it impossible for the team batting second to chase down big targets,” he said.
“In fact we should be credited for making wickets that remained intact after being used for so many matches in such searing heat,” said Arai.
But didn’t these massively batting-oriented pitches lead to totally one-sided matches?
“Well, that has got more to do with the difference in the standard of the teams than with the nature of the pitch,” he said. Curators generally get very touchy when you criticise pitches they produce, and this one was no different.