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Spotlight on Faisalabad pitch

Source: PTI
January 19, 2006 19:42 IST
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The pitch for the second cricket Test between India and Pakistan came in for close scrutiny from rival captains on Thursday.

After the run-glut on a featherbed of a pitch in Lahore in the weather-hit first Test, the track at the Iqbal stadium in Faisalabad has assumed importance.

India captain Rahul Dravid came out midway through his team's net session, under a strong sun that came out after days of playing hide and seek, to take a hard, good look at the pitch.

He checked the wicket, sporting dead grass, and also tested its firmness with his fingertips. He then stood at one end, where the crease would be when the match commences, and shadow-batted for five minutes before leaving the area.

Inzamam-ul Haq also did likewise, heading straigh

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taway to the pitch after coming to the venue. He was accompanied by vice-captain Younis Khan and coach Bob Woolmer.

The trio went straight to the protected area, tested the firmness at both ends and had a quiet conversation before going for the nets.

Chief curator Agha Zahid, asked about how the wicket would behave, was not willing to offer any insight barring the usual "it will be a good wicket".

Zahid, under fire for preparing the placid pitch at Lahore, said he hoped weather would not conspire against his efforts again this time.

"The pitch is now baking under the sun. Let's see," he said.

Asked whether there would be any more rolling after it was stopped altogether over the last few days, Zahid said, "I can't say."

There is a view in the Indian team that the pitch would offer turn and would also be of uneven bounce, but no official comment has come so far from any quarter on the issue.

Yuvraj Singh, who spoke to the media persons after a long-drawn net session, refused to predict how the wicket would behave.

"I don't think about the wicket. I do look at it and then forget it. It's not my job," he said.

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