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PCB defends itinerary, flat pitches

"The itinerary was finalized in conjunction with the Indians and obviously no one can predict the weather," PCB official Altaf said.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 11:27 IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board has moved quickly to defend its scheduling of the home series against India after coming under criticism for lost playing time and the dead track prepared for the first Test at Gaddafi Stadium.

The opener of the three-match series appears destined to end in a draw after Pakistan declared at 679 for seven, while India reached the middle of Monday's fourth day on 266 without loss in reply with five players already scoring centuries.

To make matters worse, more than 300 minutes have been lost due to bad light and overcast conditions, among fears that the second Test starting in Faisalabad next week may also be affected by bad weather.

"It is easy to criticize but as far as the scheduling is concerned we had no choice given the hectic international program these days," PCB official Saleem Altaf said on Monday.

India play the third Test in the port city of Karachi where conditions remain mild at this time of the year and critics say the board should have held the first Test there to avoid the inclement winter weather.

On their last tour in 2004, India refused to play a Test in Karachi for security reasons, as did England in 2005.


Altaf said that since India wanted to play a three-day practice game before the first Test they had to schedule the match in Lahore.

"They were also logistical reasons for scheduling the final Test in Karachi," he said.

"The itinerary was finalized in conjunction with the Indians and obviously no one can predict the weather."

The series against England at the end of 2005 was also affected by poor weather with overs lost in all three Tests.

Altaf was also quick to defend the pitch in Lahore, saying poor weather had affected the groundsmen's plans.

"It did hamper their work and it is difficult in such weather conditions to prepare the exact type of pitch you want for a Test," he added.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had insisted before the series that he would like to have hard and bouncy tracks to encourage his bowlers against the strong Indian batting line-up.

Altaf said that chief curator Agha Zahid had started preparing the track for the second Test and hopefully it would be more competitive.

He added that the board was also considering moving a proposal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow six-day Tests to be played in Pakistani winter to enable a maximum of 450 overs to be bowled in a match.

First Published: Jan 16, 2006 17:58 IST

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