PCB summons ex-MCG curator ahead of Lahore Test

Decision part of Ramiz Raja's plans to overhaul state of pitches in Pakistan

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
Former MCG and ICC academy curator Toby Lumsden chats with Usmam Arshad, assistant to PCB head curator Agha Zahid, in Lahore, March 17, 2022

Toby Lumsden chats with Usmam Arshad, assistant to PCB head curator Agha Zahid  •  PCB

The PCB has sought the services of former MCG and ICC academy curator *Toby Lumsden for a 10-day period to oversee pitch preparation ahead of the third Test against Australia in Lahore. He will also assist local curators as part of chairman Ramiz Raja's broader plan to overhaul the process of pitch preparation in the country.
Australia's first Test tour to Pakistan in 24 years has been marred by plenty of criticism over the state of the pitches. Last week's series opener in Rawalpindi ended in a tame draw, with the surface being rated by the ICC s "below average," leading to the venue getting a demerit point. '
Only 14 wickets fell across five days. While Pakistan managed to take all 10 Australian wickets in the first innings, the visitors managed just four overall, with Pakistan making 476 for 4 declared and 252 for 0 when the match was called off.
ESPNcricinfo understands the surface for the ongoing Karachi Test was originally meant to assist the spinners. However, it has also been deemed too slow and not to its character. Australia batted for over six sessions after winning the toss to put up 556, with the Test very much in their control despite Abdullah Shafique and Babar Azam having put together an unbroken 171-run third-wicket stand in pursuit of 506.
Raja has initiated an overhaul of pitches, and is set to look at installing readymade drop-in pitches from Australia in Lahore and Karachi as early as next year. The PCB is understood to have ordered two drop-in pitches in a bid to simulate Australian surfaces, which they believe would help their players acclimatise better on overseas tours.
Lumsden landed in Lahore earlier in the week to begin work. He began at the ICC Academy in 2010 and held the job for two years before rejoining in 2017 as head curator.
1600GMT The story had earlier stated Tony Hemming as the curator PCB had summoned. This has been corrected.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent