Imran lashes out at dead Multan wicket

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 23:03 [IST]
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Multan:Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has lashed out at the dead wicket prepared for the first Test against India, saying it was bad for the country's image.

"Such tracks not only provide boring cricket but are also detrimental for the development of Pakistan cricket," Imran said after India ran up a mammoth 675 for five declared on Monday.

"Pakistan's strength lies in its fast bowlers but that strength is negated by laying out such a lifeless wicket."

India's highest total against Pakistan was built around opener Virender Sehwag's 309 and an undefeated 194 by Sachin Tendulkar.

Pakistan's four-pronged attack, led by the fiery duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami, toiled in vain on a wicket devoid of any assistance.

"With Shoaib asked to bowl on such a wicket, it is frustrating," Imran said.

"Someone has to take the blame of ordering such a pitch. It seems the captain (Inzamam-ul-Haq) or coach (Javed Miandad) wanted the grass removed because the square looked green a day before the match."

Imran, who took 362 Test wickets, said pitches in Pakistan were more conducive to fast bowling when he played.

"When I used to play even the worst pitch had traces of grass on it and that is why we produced such class bowlers like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis," he said.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hired English curator Andy Atkinson two years ago to prepare pitches around the country.

Atkinson, who hails from Essex, agreed with Imran that the hosts did not take advantage of their strengths.

"I am also not happy at the behaviour of the pitch," he said.

But Atkinson, an advisor to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on pitches, said the wicket at the Multan stadium will assist spin later in the match.

"We had just three days to prepare the pitch but I am sure it will take turn on the last two days," he said.

Atkinson, who prepared two bouncy tracks against South Africa last year, claimed the wicket for the second Test in Lahore will be different.

"There will be some bounce there because we have been working on the square at the Gaddafi stadium," he said.

The second Test starts from April 5 while the third and final Test will be played in Rawalpindi from April 13.

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