July 22, 2011

Pakistan cricket

Remember the venue of the 1000th Test?

Abhishek Purohit

The 2000th Test has attracted so much attention you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the biggest milestone to have occurred in the game. But for the 2000th to have occurred at Lord’s, a 1000th had to have happened. It took place at the Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad, Pakistan, a venue that now hosts wedding parties and serves as an occasional helipad. The 1000th Test, in which Pakistan beat New Zealand by seven wickets in 1984, remains the last one to have been played there.

"It's disappointing to see the condition of Niaz Stadium. With no international cricket in Pakistan and facilities unused, it had to happen," said former Pakistan spinner Iqbal Qasim, who played in the 1000th Test. "There's no comparison between Lord's and Hyderabad, even the players didn't know about the occasion and it is only now we know that ‘Oh, we were part of the 1000th Test.’"

Pakistan were unbeaten in 12 games at the Niaz Stadium. It was there that Javed Miandad and Mudassar Nazar shared a record partnership of 451 against India in January 1983. Miandad was left stranded on 280 when his captain Imran Khan declared and then proceeded to demolish India with 6 for 35.

The ground fell into disrepair later with no international match being played for more than ten years. The PCB regained possession of it in 2007 and it hosted a one-dayer against Zimbabwe in 2008 but matters seem to have gone downhill again for what should have been a celebrated venue.

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Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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