LAHORE: Khalid Mahmood, who was heading the Pakistan Cricket Board in 1998 when Australia last toured Pakistan, on Wednesday said many things have changed during the past 24 years.
“I joined the PCB as chairman at a time when a number of [Pakistan] cricketers were not available for different reasons and match-fixing allegations were being levelled on some cricketers. Amid all this, Pakistan, after losing the first Test against Australia in Rawalpindi, bounced back to draw the next two Tests,” Khalid told Dawn.
The Mark Taylor-led Aussies clinched the series 1-0, their first-ever Test series triumph on Pakistan soil.
Opener Aamir Sohail was appointed as captain of the national team because he was not facing any such allegations at that time.
Interestingly, the former PCB chief added, the Aussies on Friday were starting the Test series from Rawalpindi again where they won the match 24 years ago.
“It may be for security reasons or the tourists’ pinning hopes that the start [to the series] should be taken from Rawalpindi, considering it as their winning venue, in the past,” Khalid remarked.
Saying the pitch in Rawalpindi might prove more helpful for pacers, Khalid said Australians possessed a good pace attack. “Therefore, the Pakistan batsmen had to be more careful to build big totals.
“Unfortunately, Australia could not visit Pakistan on security grounds in the last 24 years. However, we now hope the bilateral series between Pakistan and Australia would continue with Australians coming to Pakistan regularly,” the ex-PCB chairman stated.
Khalid said attributing the Pakistan-Australia Test series trophy to Richie Benaud and Abdul Qadir was also a good step to remember the two legendary leg-spinners.
Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2022