Green Shirts missing home advantage in a home series
In a bilateral series, home advantage plays a big role in the series result, as the “host team” can exploit home conditions - the ground and the crowd. But this is not the case of poor Green Shirts as the curators at the Lord’s cricket ground have turned down Pakistan’s request to provide a turning track.
Pakistan cricket team is touring England these days to play its home series against Australia, followed by a series against England cricket team. The devastating Law and Order situation in Pakistan has compelled the national cricket team to play a “Home Series” on English soil.
Pakistan team sources revealed that the team management requested for a turning pitch for the first test against Australia, which starts from 13th July, but the Lord’s curators have straightaway declined to consider any special request from Pakistan regarding preparation of pitches.
"Pakistan coach Waqar Younis wanted a pitch that would support the spinners and also be conducive for batting but the curators at the Lord's have flatly refused to entertain his request," said a source in the Pakistan team in England.
Since it is Pakistan’s 'home' series, so they believed that they have the right to decide tracks that go well with their team. So the touring coach Waqar Younis had approached the curators at the Lord’s ground to discuss the nature of track soon after the arrival of national team in England.
"Waqar Younis met with curators at Lord's to discuss the nature of the wicket at the prestigious venue for Pakistan's opening Test against Australia and discussed the possibility of making a track that could assist spinners and in the meantime tried to make it sure that batting won't be too difficult in the match," the source said.
But the Lord’s curators have adopted a firm stand in this regard refusing to entertain any such request from touring management. They made it clear to Younis that nobody can guide the curators regarding the nature of pitch, not even the English captain or the team management has the right to tell what kind of pitch they would like for a particular game. It is solely the duty of curators to decide about the nature of a track.
Pakistan will play two T20 international against Australia on 5th and 6th July followed by two test matches. Both T20’s will be played at Edgbaston, while the second test is scheduled at Headingley (Leeds) from July 21. The ODI part of home series has already been played in the United Arab Emirates last year.
Pakistan was forced to play its home series against the mighty Aussies on English grounds after the Aussies turned down to visit the terrorism-stricken Asian country on security grounds.
The terrorist attacks on touring Sri Lankan team in March 2009 in Lahore worsened the already plunging condition of Pakistan cricket. Five Pakistani policemen and a driver lost their lives while five Sri Lankan players got injured in the attack. Since then no international team has visited Pakistan, rather the scheduled tours were shifted to neutral venues, like UAE. The 2011 World Cup matches have also been moved away from the country due to security concerns.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was also disappointed by the curators stand. He said he was expecting some input from the team management of Pakistan into the preparation of pitches during home series against Australia.
"It's our home series, so naturally we believe that we can get pitches that suit us. As the host team, you can exploit home advantage which at times can play a big role in the final outcome of the series,” said Afridi.
So the poor Pakistani players would have to play a home series without a home advantage.