ICL: Indian Cricket League

National Stadium pitch expected to be spinner friendly


Danish Kaneria can expect the sort of wicket at the National Stadium in Karachi that he has been dying for since getting a thrashing at the hands of West Indian captain Brian Lara in Multan, writes Khalid Hussain.

Though the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief curator Agha Zahid is tight-lipped on the sort of wicket that is being prepared for the final Test, sources say that he has been asked to deliver a slow and turning track.

The third Test starts at the National Stadium from Monday and Pakistan would be looking to finish off the job following a win in Lahore and a draw in Multan on Thursday.

According to sources, the groundsmen were asked to prepare spin-friendly wickets in Lahore and Multan but were unable to do a good job because of cold conditions in the Punjab province.

Karachi is warmer and the ground staff spearheaded by Agha Zahid, a former Test cricketer, is upbeat about the chances of a better track than the previous two used so far in the three-match Test series.

The pitches at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium and the Multan stadium were criticised by players from both sides as they provided little assistance to the bowlers, barring the opening day in the Lahore Test.

In Multan, the bat completely dominated the ball with Brian Lara scoring a splendid double century and in process hammering Kaneria with some lusty hitting. The leg-spinner did take five wickets in the West Indian innings but at the cost of 181 runs including 26 scored off one over by Lara. But it could be a different story for Kaneria when he returns to home town Karachi. The groundsmen have been helped by warm and dry conditions in Karachi and say that they can deliver a perfect spinning track, if asked.

The final decision, as has been a tradition in Pakistan cricket, would be taken after the track is inspected by host team captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and coach Bob Woolmer over the weekend.

A recent inspection of the track at the National Stadium showed a little bit of grass but chances are that due to the fact that Pakistan are already leading the series 1-0, they might not take any chances against the tourists whose main strike bowlers are all pacers.

Pakistan have recalled fast bowler Mohammad Sami in their 15-man squad for the final Test, an indication that they might opt for a lively track.

However, there has been no official word on the exact nature of the track being prepared for the next Test.

Zahid, when approached to get his views, declined any comments saying that a recent International Cricket Council (ICC) policy stops curators from giving any pre-match information about the pitches.
Source:The News

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