The Rawalpindi pitch, which was used for the first Test between Pakistan and Australia, was on Thursday rated as “below average” by the ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle and received one demerit point under the ICC’s Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process.
The lifeless pitch in Rawalpindi became a talking point after only 14 wickets fell across five days and across three innings while 1187 runs were scored in total as the first Test ended in a dull draw. Pakistan, who batted for 162 overs in the first innings, posted 476/4 declared. Australia faced 140.1 overs for their 459 while Pakistan finished with 252/0 in 77 overs in their second essay.
After the game, Australia’s captain Pat Cummins suggested that the lifeless pitch was made to nullify the visitors’ pace attack. Later, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja also admitted the match “wasn’t a good advertisement” for cricket and said he understood the frustration of fans but stressed that, “just for the heck of it, we can’t prepare a fast pitch or a bouncy pitch and put the game in Australia’s lap”.
Meanwhile, in his assessment of the pitch, Madugalle said: “The character of the pitch hardly changed over the course of five days and that there has been no deterioration apart from the bounce getting slightly lower. The pitch did not have a great deal of pace and bounce in it for the seamers nor assisted the spinners as the match progressed. In my view, this does not represent an even contest between bat and ball. Therefore, in keeping with the ICC guidelines, I rate this pitch as below average.”
“Mr. Madugalle’s report has been forwarded to the Pakistan Cricket Board,” the ICC said in a statement.
Notably, the performance of pitches and outfields rated by the ICC are Very Good, Good, Average, Below Average, Poor and Unfit.
A demerit point is handed for each pitch rated below average while three and five demerit points are given to pitches rated poor and unfit respectively. The demerit points remain active for a rolling five-year period and any venue which accumulates five demerit points is suspended from holding international cricket for 12 months.
In case, the accumulated demerit points reach 10, the venue in question will be suspended from hosting international cricket for 24 months.