Former Pakistan captain and newly appointed interim chief selector Shahid Afridi has mentioned the need for a change in pitches in Pakistan cricket.
Pakistan's pitches have been under intense scrutiny, particularly in Tests, since cricket returned to the country in 2019. Criticism has constantly been sharp on flat, benign and dead pitches like the ones in Rawalpindi and Karachi.
The Rawalpindi pitch for the first Test between Pakistan and Australia received a "below average" rating along with a demerit point from match referee Ranjan Madugalle. The decision came after the game ended in a tiresome draw in March this year.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam expressed disappointment at not getting the kind of turning pitch they wanted following the 74-run defeat to England in the first Test in Rawalpindi earlier this month.
Speaking to reporters in their first interaction since replacing Mohammad Wasim as Pakistan's interim chief selector for the New Zealand Test series, Afridi disagreed with the old-fashioned mindset of playing on turning tracks.
"Right now we will try to focus on a different plan. We will conduct a meeting to put all our ideas like (Abdul) Razzaq has some and even I have some. Why do we have it in our minds to have a turning wicket for batting."
The former Pakistan skipper further mentioned how Pakistan can have pitches of similar ranks to Australia and South Africa, which assist with bounce and movement for pacers.
"We are capable of producing pitches like the ones in Australia and South Africa. We have these pitches in our domestic cricket where you play that kind of cricket."
"So we can try out different things rather than sticking to the old-fashioned methods. How will we come to World No.1 or World No.2 rankings until we don't bring changes."
"We have been carrying our bowlers for a long time" - Shahid Afridi
Pakistan's interim selection committee's first major decision was to add three players to Pakistan's Test squad for the forthcoming two-match series against New Zealand.
Fast bowlers Shahnawaz Dahani and Mir Hamza along with off-spinner Sajid Khan were added to the 16-member squad announced on December 21.
Explaining the reason behind the inclusion of two fast bowlers in the squad on Saturday, December 24, Afridi said:
"Our selection committee made a good decision to bring two extra fast bowlers (into the squad). I got to learn that Naseem Shah is not completely fit (to play)."
"We have been carrying our bowlers for a long time. For instance, we have been carrying Dahani for the last two years. When will we at least play him, give him the chance and make him a bowler."
He further said:
"We also have Mir Hamza. Because Shaheen (Afridi) is not available, we need a left-arm fast bowler in our team. That boy (Mir) deserves a chance because he has given performances."
Pakistan will play New Zealand in the first Test, starting on Monday, December 26, at the National Stadium in Karachi.
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