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'Pitch preparation prerogative of PCB'

The Indian cricket board would not interfere with Pakistan's policy of pitch preparation, team manager Dungarpur said.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 12:00 IST

The Indian cricket board will "not interfere" with Pakistan's policy of pitch preparation even though huge scores were piled in the first Test here rendering bowlers ineffective, team manager Raj Singh Dungarpur said on Tuesday.

After four Pakistani batsmen scored centuries in their first innings in a total of 679/7 declared, Virender Sehwag (batting 247) and captain Rahul Dravid (batting 128) led a strong reply with 403 for no loss till the end of the fourth day at the Gaddafi Stadium here.

Rains and poor visibility added to the woes of the two teams, spectators and all concerned with the match.

"Pitch preparation is the prerogative of the home board," Dungarpur said even as overnight rains and poor visibility delayed the start of the fifth day's play.

"We will not interfere with pitch preparation. But I don't think they wanted to make a wicket like that," said the former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The pitch, prepared by one-Test wonder Agha Zahid and Mohammad Basheer, has come in for stringent criticism after the bowlers were made to look completely ineffective on it, with one expert calling it a "joke of a strip".

But BCCI or the team management will not ask the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to prepare better pitches for the second Test in Faisalabad and the third in Karachi.

Dungarpur said nothing could be done now since the match was almost over.

"Jo ban gaya, so ban gaya (whatever has been prepared has been prepared). But tell me: how many people in the (Indian) subcontinent know how to make wickets?" he asked with a smile.

A day before the Test began here, Basheer had said it would be a "sporting and fair" pitch.

"It will not be a pitch that overly assists fast bowlers as speculated, instead it will be a sporting and fair pitch," Bashir had told IANS.

The story turned out to be entirely different. So far, the two teams have scored 1,082 runs at the loss of just seven wickets.

A draw here would mean that India has not won a Test in seven attempts.

Faisalabad has the worst history of draws, and fears are being expressed here that the second Test, beginning there Saturday, could go the same way. In 23 Tests played in Faisalabad, 12 have ended in draws.

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 12:00 IST