Demerit point handed to ‘below average’ Rawalpindi pitch reversed following PCB’s appeal
The Rawalpindi pitch was deemed 'below average' as per Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees Andy Pycroft.
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The demerit point previously handed to the Rawalpindi pitch in Pakistan after being deemed as ‘below average’ has now been reversed by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The decision was invalidated by the apex cricketing body following an appeal from the members of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
A demerit point accumulated essentially means that the particular venue would be under threat of being suspended from hosting international cricket going forward. This came after the recently concluded Test series between England and Pakistan on the latter’s home soil that garnered plenty of attention for the poor quality of wickets it had on offer.
During the first Test of the recently concluded England's tour of Pakistan held in Rawalpindi at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, the pitch played like a batting paradise due to which the match saw both teams post massive totals in the five-day format. Adding to the same, the then PCB chairman Ramiz Raja had labelled the pitch as 'embarrassing'. Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees, Andy Pycroft too concurred with the statements made by the former PCB chief.
“It was a very flat pitch which gave almost no assistance to any type of bowler. That was the main reason why batters scored very fast and both sides posted huge totals. The pitch hardly deteriorated during the course of the match. Since there was very little in it for the bowlers, I found the pitch to be 'below average' as per the ICC guidelines,” told Pycroft as quoted by the ICC.
However, the ICC appeal panel reviewed the footage from the contest and found that the pitch had several ‘redeeming features’. This included the fact that a result was possible and that 37 out of 39 wickets were taken in order to back the claim.
The appeal panel decided to take back the demerit point handed to the 22-yard strip of Rawalpindi and further added that it did not deserve to be given a ‘below average’ rating. Since 2019, after the nation witnessed the return of the sport to its soil, the venue has hosted as many as 14 international matches across formats.