Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has revealed that it had no choice but to host the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi.
The board has been forced to defend itself after the ongoing first Test, which marked the return of Test cricket to Pakistan after 10 years, has been marred by rain and bad light.
With only 18.2 overs of play possible on the second day and 5.2 on the third day, it seems as if the match is set to finish as a draw.
“According to the original FTP schedule and if all was well, Sri Lanka should have been here for the white-ball cricket, while they would have completed their red-ball assignment in September/October,” a PCB spokesman was quoted as saying by The News International. “However, the matches were swapped to give the SLC a little taste and flavor that Pakistan was safe to play cricket.
“As such, white-ball matches, which presently have no contest, were held in September/October. The PCB’s strategy worked as Sri Lanka are now here for the WTC Tests.
“This time of the year, only Karachi and Rawalpindi can stage Tests. Lahore is not available due to smog and rains, while Multan and Peshawar are in the upgradation process.
“That left only Karachi as the venue that could have staged full cricket. Back-to-back Tests at the same venue, I am not too sure would have gone down well locally and internationally.
“The PCB strategically awarded this Test to Rawalpindi so that Pakistan doesn’t look like a two-venue country. Please remember Pindi Cricket Stadium is also one of the venues for HBL PSL 2020, whose all 34 matches will be held in Pakistan.
“If Karachi had staged the first Test, it would have been impossible to allow any cricket in Rawalpindi due to extreme weather conditions from mid-December onwards. The first Test against Sri Lanka couldn’t start before December 11 as the Pakistan cricket team only returned from Australia on December 6.”