India in Pakistan, 2005-06 December 27, 2005

Pak-India Tests in Punjab may start early

Daily News



Tests against England in late November and early December were badly affected by bad weather © Getty Images
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is already worried about the effect the prevailing winter season in the Punjab will have to the first two Tests against India in Lahore and Faisalabad in January.

Saleem Altaf, Director Cricket Operations PCB, admitted that the board was concerned given the experience of the Tests against England played in these two cities and which were badly affected by bad light and fog leading to shorter playing days. Some 70 overs were lost in the second Test in Faisalabad and a similar number in the final Test at Lahore despite use of floodlights. India, who tour from January 6 to February 18, are scheduled to play their first two Tests from January 13 and 21 and the third in Karachi from the 29 followed by five one-dayers in February in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan and Karachi.

Altaf said the PCB had decided to try to have early starts to the Tests by at least 15 minutes and if possible even half an hour. "We are going to propose these early starts in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) which we'll sign with the Indian cricket board this week for the tour. That's the only way we see possible of getting in the best of six hours of play and the minimum 90 overs in a day," he added.

He said the PCB was aware that December and January were not the best time of the year to hold Tests in Punjab but added there was no other alternate available to the Board if it wanted to hold its international home season.

"Normally we prefer to schedule the international matches between September and November when the winter season is just setting in and six hours play is possible. But this season since we are hosting two touring sides and six Tests we've no option," he stated. He said Pakistan would propose the Tests start half an hour to 15 minutes earlier than the normal time of 10.00 am in Lahore and Faisalabad while the one-dayers would've a 11.00 am start to allow the matches to end early and avoid problems with dew and mist.

The ICC after the Tests against England were badly affected by bad weather in late November and early December proposed to the PCB that it could have six-day Tests instead of five days to have the full quota of 450 overs in a Test.Altaf said the PCB was seriously looking into this proposal and would discuss it at the next board meeting of the ICC to see if it could be practically implemented. The PCB has also proposed use of the Australian made Kookaburra balls in the Indian series