LAHORE: Former captain Aamir Sohail is hopeful of Pakistan hosting Test matches within two years, arguing that poor pitches in the UAE would eventually force the board’s hand in speeding up the process.
The first Pakistan-England Test last meandered towards a draw as both teams piled on runs for four days. It was only in the final session of the fifth day that things spiced up and put England on the brink of a dramatic win before bad light thwarted their efforts.
But Sohail said ‘boring’ draws in the UAE were a bad advertisement for Test cricket and Pakistan would soon have to rethink their ‘home’ venue.
“I don’t see it [Pakistan hosting a Test] happening for at least 18 months,” the former opener said.
“But moves are afoot already and you could argue that cricket in the Emirates has become boring, so why not it back to Pakistan We will ensure that we produce result-oriented pitches,” Sohail said while talking to Sky Sports.
The stylish left-hand batsman, who featured for Pakistan in 47 Tests and 156 one-day internationals, was of the view that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) could fill up the stands with Test matches because the cricket-starved fans in the country had no other chance to see international stars in action.
“Pakistani fans are starved of international cricket and two or three series of just Test cricket will create a culture of people turning up for Tests in greater numbers than they were previously.
“This pitch in Abu Dhabi has been a bad advertisement for the game and if the ICC wants Test cricket to be popular, they have to start thinking seriously about moving it back to Pakistan.”
Sohail said the pitch in the first Test was so poor that the hosts were unwilling to take ownership of it.
“There seems to be no ownership of the wicket. Pakistan team’s coach Waqar Younis denied wanting such a surface prepared. They’re here to win,” Sohail, best known in the cricketing circles for his blunt views, said.
“In Pakistan there are two or three grounds where they could easily produce livelier pitches, places like Rawalpindi or Multan” he added.
The 48-year-old said he recently spoke with Younis Khan and “he was actually quite sad as he had to break Javed Miandad’s record outside Pakistan”.
“So many of the great performances he has given for Pakistan have come in the Emirates, and he would have loved to have performed more in front of his home crowds,” he said.
“Imagine how huge it would have been if and when he had broken Miandad’s record in front of a Pakistani crowd. It could have been an even bigger story for him.”