ICC overturns Rawalpindi pitch demerit point on PCB’s appeal

Published January 23, 2023
<p>Saud Shakeel plays a shot during the first Test between Pakistan and England at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Dec 5, 2022. — Reuters</p>

Saud Shakeel plays a shot during the first Test between Pakistan and England at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Dec 5, 2022. — Reuters

A demerit point handed to Pakistan’s Rawalpindi pitch was on Monday rescinded following an appeal, a month after it was deemed “below average” during a Test against England.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said a panel reviewed footage of the match following a challenge by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and was unanimous in its decision.

“There were several redeeming features — including the fact that a result was achieved following a compelling game, with 37 out of a possible 39 wickets being taken,” the ICC said.

“As such, the appeal panel concluded that the wicket did not warrant the ‘below average’ rating.”

The lifeless pitch yielded 1,786 runs in the December Test, prompting match referee Andy Pycroft to hand out the penalty. England piled up 657 runs in their first innings, including a world-record opening-day score of 506-4.

The tourists won the Test by 74 runs after setting Pakistan a 343-run target.

At the time, Pycroft was quoted in an ICC statement saying “it was a very flat pitch which gave almost no assistance to any type of bowler”.

It was the second time the pitch received such a verdict after 1,187 runs were scored for the loss of just 14 wickets in a tame draw between Pakistan and Australia nine months earlier.

ICC rules say that if a venue accumulates five demerits in five years, it is suspended from hosting international cricket for 12 months.

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