A demerit point handed to Pakistan’s Rawalpindi pitch was controversially rescinded on Monday following an appeal, a month after it was deemed “below average” during a Test against England.
The International Cricket Council said a panel reviewed footage of the match following a challenge by the Pakistan Cricket Board and was unanimous in its decision.
“There were several redeeming features — including the fact that a result was achieved following a compelling game, with 37 out of a possible 39 wickets being taken,” the ICC said.
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“As such, the appeal panel concluded that the wicket did not warrant the ‘below average’ rating.”
The lifeless pitch yielded 1,786 runs in the December Test, prompting match referee Andy Pycroft to hand out the penalty.
A result was produced, but only by virtue of England’s hyper-aggression in the Bazball era.
England piled up 657 runs in their first innings, including a world-record opening-day score of 506-4.
The tourists then boldly declared early to give Pakistan a 343-run target to chase, and then only won by 74 runs late in the final session of day five.
At the time, Pycroft was quoted in an ICC statement saying “it was a very flat pitch which gave almost no assistance to any type of bowler”.
Then PCB chairman Ramiz Raja also didn’t hold back.
“It is embarrassing for us, especially when you have a cricketer as chairman,” he told reporters.
“This is not a good advert for cricket. We’re a better cricketing nation than this.”
It was the second time the pitch received such a verdict, after 1,187 runs were scored for the loss of just 14 wickets in a tame draw between Pakistan and Australia nine months earlier.
ICC rules say that if a venue accumulates five demerits in five years it is suspended from hosting international cricket for 12 months.