Vol. 4 Num 116 Fri. September 19, 2003  


Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium is the smallest of six international cricket venues in Pakistan.

The 17, 000-capacity stadium, located between Rawalpindi and the Pakistan capital Islamabad has held seven Test matches and 11 one-day internationals since its inauguration in January 1992.

The venue may have not played host to a lot of matches, but it has already earned the reputation as a batting paradise

This is where South Africa opener Gary Kirsten scored his career-best 188 not out against UAE in the 1996 World Cup. The breathtaking innings of the left-hander is still the third highest individual score in the instant version of the game.

Besides, the stadium also produced a total of nine one-day centuries so far.

Former Pakistan top-order batsman Ijaz Ahmed holds the distinction of scoring two of those.

The right-hander scored a blazing 132 against Zimbabwe in the 1998 and hammered 110 when the Proteas toured this part of the world in 1994.

Hosts Pakistan, who have played eight out of 11 ODIs here, have lost only once before yesterday's match against Bangladesh.

GOOD TOSS, POOR STARTAlthough lady luck finally smiled on Bangladesh captain Khaled Mashud, who called the coin correctly yesterday evening after three failed attempts in the one-day series, there was however no change of fortune at the top of the order.

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore sent wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud to open the innings with Hannan for a change after Mohammad Ashraful had failed miserably in the first three games. But it did not work as Mashud was adjudged leg before for a duck.

The early departure of the former Bangladesh captain meant that the Tigers had lost one of their openers in all four games before the team total reached double figures.

When Mashud trudged back to the dressing room after failing to negotiate a full-length delivery from Pakistan paceman Mohammad Sami, the Bangladesh total read 9-1 in the third over.

However, it was the highest opening stand so far in one-day series in Pakistan.

In the first ODI in Multan, the opening pair scored 3 before Ashraful was trapped leg before by Umar Gul for a duck.

Ashraful was again the villain in the second one-dayer at Faisalabad, leaving Bangladesh on 5. The out of sorts young right-hander scored his second duck in Lahore and the visitors lost their first wicket for one.

RAWALPINDI'S MISSING INGREDIENTThe Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium was packed to the core. But there was still something missing for the locals.

The cheering crowd backed the side all the way but unfortunately there was not a single representative from Rawalpindi in the Pakistan team.

This place is however known for producing some very good fast bowlers including Shoaib Akhtar, who is better known to the cricketing world as the 'Rawalpindi Express.'

Shoaib, who lives in Morgah in Rawalpindi city, is now playing for English county Durham after featuring in the first two Tests against Bangladesh.

Azhar Mahmood is other local hero. But the all-rounder is yet to get a recall after being dropped from Pakistan squad after the World Cup debacle in South Africa.

Mohammad Wasim and Mohammad Akram are the other two fast bowlers who hail from Rawalpindi. But both players' careers were cut short because of injury.

Tushar Imran whacks the ball to the fence during the fourth one-day international against Pakistan yesterday. Photo: AFP