Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Atkinson feels honoured to prepare pitches

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 20:17 [IST]
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Karachi:Renowned pitch curator Andy Atkinson said he felt honoured to develop pitches for the Pakistan-India cricket series and promised they would excite fans.

"An Englishman developing pitches for a high-profile series like an India-Pakistan series is a great honour although there will be pressure. But I promise the pitches will help create the excitement the fans seek from this series," Atkinson said on Monday.

India and Pakistan are set to renew their cricketing rivalry after their bilateral ties were stalled for three years, with the Indian team touring Pakistan for the first time in 15 years.

The 15-man Indian squad led by Sourav Ganguly is due in Lahore on Wednesday to open the tour with a warm up One-day game there the following day. The first of five One-day games is scheduled in Karachi on Saturday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sought Atkinsons help after criticism of slow pitches by former captain Rashid Latif, coach Javed Miandad and PCB chairman Tauqir Zia last year.

The bespectacled curator, who worked in South Africa from 1993 to 2001, said he is keenly looking forward to the series and agreed it would be a high class battle between Pakistani bowlers and Indian batsmen.

"I am sure it would be an exciting series and since India has a strong batting line-up and Pakistan boasts good bowlers it will be a tussle between bowlers and batsmen," he said.

Atkinson, an adviser on pitches for the International Cricket Council (ICC), denied there were any specific instructions from the local Board, team captain or coach and said the pitches would be made true at all the venues.

"All the pitches will be sporting with equal chances for batsmen and bowlers," he said.

"Pitches in Pakistan have been re-laid in the last two three years and they have improved a lot in that period," said Atkinson, who flew from Dhaka in Bangladesh after supervising pitches for the Junior World Cup, which was won by Pakistan.

"We did some special work for pitches in Bangladesh and I am happy that the event was won by Pakistan, who proved to be the best of all the teams."

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