The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has successfully appealed the demerit point given to the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium for a “below average” pitch rating during the first match of the ICC World Test Championship series between Pakistan and England in December last year.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) appeal panel, consisting of the ICC General Manager – Cricket and the Chair of the ICC Men’s Cricket Committee, reviewed footage of the Test match and concluded that the wicket did not warrant a “below average” rating. The panel noted that a result was achieved following a compelling game, with 37 out of a possible 39 wickets being taken.
PCB Chairman Najam Sethi announced that the board had written a strong letter to the ICC challenging the decision to award the demerit points to the Pindi Stadium. He stated that the PCB outlined the records of other venues and challenged the grounds on which the Pindi Stadium should be given a demerit point when a result is achieved in the said match. Sethi added, “I am glad to announce that the ICC has accepted our point of view and withdrawn the demerit point.”
This is not the first time that the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium has received a demerit point for a pitch rating. In March last year, the ICC also awarded a demerit point to the Pindi Stadium after a high-scoring Test match between Pakistan and Australia. Demerit points can accumulate over a period of time and can lead to a stadium being suspended from hosting international matches.
This decision by the ICC appeal panel is a major victory for the PCB as it will allow the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium to continue hosting international matches without any repercussions. The PCB has been working hard to improve the standard of cricket in Pakistan and this decision is a step in the right direction. The board will now focus on ensuring that the pitch and outfield conditions at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium are up to the standard for the next international match.