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Pakistan to prepare bouncy wickets


Islamabad: The Pakistan Cricket Board has adopted a strategy of preparing bouncy wickets to help its national team prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June.

According to official sources, the PCB authorities have ordered the preparation of special pitches, matching English conditions, to be used in the training camp to help batsmen who struggle at the bouncy pitches, Xinhua reports.

Pakistan players, especially batsmen, who are usually groomed up while playing at slow, dry and dull tracks face problems when they play on bouncy, grassy and fast pitches abroad, like in South Africa, Australia, England and New Zealand.

Pakistan had a harsh experience of such fast track recently in their South African tour where they lost six out of nine international matches including two series: Test by 3-0 and One-day International by 3-2 during January-March.

After the woeful episode in South Africa where national team slumped at its lowest ever Test total of 49 runs, the PCB authorities decided to take quick and practical steps to make players aware of English conditions during the practice sessions at home.

“The authorities have observed that during the South Africa tour batsmen struggled and considering the venue of the Champions Trophy in England it was decided that special pitches would be prepared to help players’ training,” a PCB release said.

The PCB has planned to organise a 10-day training camp in the northwestern city of Abbottabad where a 30-man probable squad will report for screening for the final team selection.

The PCB has also hired the services of legendary former fast bowler Wasim Akram to support the pacemen in the camp.

Pakistan have been placed in the Group B along with India, West Indies and South Africa for the eight-nation tournament while Group A comprises defending champion Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

It is the seventh and final ICC Champions Trophy tournament of its kind that will be held from June 6 to 23 in three British cities: London, Birmingham and Cardiff.

Besides England, Pakistan is the only team that has never won the title.