Lahore pitch 'off limits' for scribes

Published: Saturday, April 3, 2004, 22:27 [IST]
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Lahore:With the dust raised in Multan still to settle down, an overtly cautious Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is trying to keep information about the Lahore wicket under wraps.

The PCB has barred the media from entering the ground even as Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and coach Javed Miandad made two visits to the Gaddafi Stadium, venue of the second Test beginning on Monday, to have a close look at the track on Saturday.

'No journalist will be allowed to see the wicket' was the official word for reporters covering the match.

It appears PCB CEO Ramiz Raja has taken matters into his own hands and has passed strict orders to officials not to make any comments on the wicket. Raja's opinion on the wicket was thus: the wicket will have bounce for the first two days and then will settle down.

The pitch is being prepared under the supervision of English curator Andy Atkinson, responsible for preparing wickets at all international venues in Pakistan. The wicket has been a topic of intense debate ever since the first Test began in Multan where the Indians thrived on the placid track to not only pile up a huge score but also dismiss the opposition twice for a historic innings and 52-run win.

It is widely believed that a green-top wicket awaits the Indians as was evident in the comments of Miandad and Imran Khan post Multan defeat.

"We need a good wicket where our bowlers can get some help. We still have a good attack. India have the best batting line-up and once they click it is really difficult to stop them. So, we will be looking for a track that suits our bowlers," said Miandad.

Imran Khan summed up, "They have no choice but to produce a green top which would give as much help to the bowlers as possible".

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