The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has ordered English-style pitches to help their struggling batsmen prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy, which will played in England in June.
Pakistan batsmen had a woeful time on the fast and bouncy tracks in South Africa where they were whitewashed 3-0 in Tests and edged out 3-2 in the One-Day International (ODI) series last month. However, the team was able to clinch the sole Twenty20 that was played.
Teams from the sub-continent raised on slow, dry pitches have traditionally struggled in countries like England and South Africa, where conditions offer more help to quick bowlers.
Additionally, the Pakistan batsmen have been out of form with Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed struggling at the top of the order during the Test series. Veteran Younus Khan has been omitted from a 30-man preliminary squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy because of poor form, while young guns like Azhar Ali were visibly uncomfortable on South Africa pitches against the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
Asad Shafiq was the country’s leading run-scorer in Tests with 199 runs in six innings with a total of just two centuries recorded by Pakistan batsmen during the entire three-match series against South Africa.
Keeping this in mind, the PCB decided that after the South African debacle, in which the tourists were shot out for their lowest Test score of 49 in the first Test in Johannesburg, the team needed intense preparation for the eight-nation Champions Trophy to be held from June 6.
“The committee noted that during the South Africa tour batsmen struggled,” read a PCB statement. “Considering the venue of the Champions Trophy it was decided that special pitches, which are closer to English conditions, will be prepared for the training camp.”
The 10-day camp will be held at Abbottabad.
Wasim to lead separate fast-bowling clinic
Meanwhile, legendary paceman Wasim Akram will lead a separate 10-day fast-bowling clinic in Karachi.
Wasim will join the camp later in Abbottabad for a few days, the PCB said.
Media reports said captain Misbah-ul Haq had suggested the team should prepare on fast pitches for the tournament, in which Pakistan face the West Indies, South Africa and archrivals India in the initial group stage.
Defending champions Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka make up the other group.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2013.
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