A local engineering university has offered to help the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in its plans to lay fast and bouncy pitches across the country. According to PCB officials, the university will assist with the preparation of 90 lively pitches at several venues across Pakistan and in return, PCB has been asked to sponsor a thesis on making of cricket pitches.
"We have accepted a proposal from an engineering university which has offered to help us prepare bouncy pitches," said Shafqat Naghmi, PCB's chief operating officer. "We will sponsor the university programme because it might be helpful for us."
The move comes after the board had already experimented with foreign help, and failing at that, in order to equip local cricketers to test their skills on faster surfaces, thus replicating scenarios they might face on international tours. Pakistan batsmen are known to struggle on pacey tracks as home pitches tend to be slow and benefit batsmen.
"Our problem is that in Pakistan the soil has more clay content than sand and that combination makes it sure that the wickets are soft and offer little bounce. The proposal we have received from the university says that they can find a workable solution for this problem provided the Board released funds for some research work they intend to carry out."
Naghmi said that the PCB is planning to issue guidelines to local pitch curators one of which would be to avoid shaving off the grass from wickets for domestic matches. "On the kind of surfaces we have here in Pakistan, you should have some grass on the wicket to make it sure that it doesn't become a batting paradise," he said. However, he also added that the presence of grass for international matches will depend entirely on team management.