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PCB Successfully Appeals Demerit Point for ‘Below Average’ Rawalpindi Pitch, Penalty Reversed

The International Cricket Council has restored the demerit point earlier assigned to the Rawalpindi pitch in Pakistan after it was considered ‘below ordinary’ (ICC). Following an appeal by members of the Pakistan Cricket Board, the supreme cricketing authority overturned the judgement (PCB).

A demerit point accumulation effectively indicates that the specific venue will be barred from hosting international cricket in the future. This followed the just finished Test series between England and Pakistan on the latter’s home turf, which drew a lot of attention due to the poor quality of wickets on offer.

The ground at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium looked like a batting paradise during the first Test of England’s recently finished tour to Pakistan, resulting in both sides posting big totals in the five-day format. In addition, the proposal was described as “embarrassing” by the then-PCB chairman Ramiz Raja. Andy Pycroft, a member of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees, agreed with the former PCB chief’s claims.

“It was an extremely flat surface which provided practically little help to any style of bowler. That was the major reason batters scored quickly and both teams achieved massive totals. The surface hardly degraded during the game. “Because there was very little in it for the bowlers, I deemed the surface to be ‘below average’ according to the ICC rules,” Pycroft told the ICC.

However, the ICC appeal panel studied the contest film and identified many “redeeming elements” on the surface. This included the possibility of a result and the fact that 37 out of 39 wickets were taken to support the argument.

The appeal panel agreed to take back the penalty point assigned to the 22-yard strip of Rawalpindi and further remarked that it did not deserve to be given a ‘below average’ grade. Since the sport’s reintroduction to the country in 2019, the arena has held as many as 14 international matches in various forms.