PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka: As Pakistan’s players were enjoying a game of football here at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium during a training session here on Sunday, team manager Intikhab walked towards the pitch that has been prepared for the Green shirts’ World Cup match against Zimbabwe.
He had a chat with the ground’s curator and then took a long, hard look at the wicket before walking back to a tented space occupied by reporters. Intikhab seemed happy with what he saw.
“It seems like a pretty good wicket,” he told ‘The News’. “They are using a brand new pitch for tomorrow’s match but it seems almost identical to the one which was used for our last match against New Zealand,” added the former Pakistan captain.
Pakistan were floored by a 110 runs by the Black Caps in that match last Tuesday but the wicket had no demons. Pakistan dropped their catches, bowled poorly in the death overs and then failed to capitalise on what were pretty good batting conditions while chasing 303 and were bowled out for just 192.
There is not even a hint of grass on the Pallekele wicket but like the other two strips used for World Cup matches here so far, it is expected to offer some bounce to the bowlers.
Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, also scrutinised the pitch during the training session but decided against commenting on it. “At this stage it looks different, maybe tomorrow we will see,” he told reporters.