Adelaide Oval’s chief curator Damien Hough inspected the National Stadium Karachi outfield and square on Friday and interacted with the curator and ground staff as part of his tour of Pakistan.
Karachi is the third venue that Hough has visited after his visits to Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore and the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi. Hough would be spending the weekend in Karachi. Besides the NSK square and outfield, where he will also take a close look and provide his recommendation and feedback on the two Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre grounds that are located inside the NSK perimeter.
Like Lahore and Rawalpindi, Hough will also deliver lectures on pitch and outfield preparation for all formats of the game. In addition to the NSK and the high performance centre ground staff and curator, the lectures will be attended by Sindh Cricket Association coaches as part of Pakistan Cricket Board’s plan of improving the knowledge and skillset of its coaches at different tiers across the country.
Hough, meanwhile, has praised the passion and commitment of the ground staff in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi and has stressed on the importance of his visit which for him is all about collaboration, learning and sharing of ideas. “This is the third Test centre that I am visiting and so far, I have really been impressed by the passion and commitment of ground staff in Pakistan and the team in Karachi is no different.
“For me, the trip is a lot about exchanging ideas, collaboration and figuring out how things are done in Pakistan and how they compare to Adelaide and Australia,” he said and added: “A lot of credit goes to the PCB for initiating this exchange, I am very impressed by their commitment to improving the pitches and grounds. This pitch relaying project in Lahore and Karachi is a testament of the willingness that the PCB has shown and I am sure it will go a long way in developing quality pitches.”
Hough, who has been associated with the Adelaide Oval for more than 10 years, is widely regarded as one of the world’s best curators with 26 years’ experience in the field. According to Hough, a good cricket pitch is one that offers a good balance between bat and ball. For long format games, 300 runs and 10 wickets is an indicator of sorts of a good cricket pitch. “A good wicket is one that provides opportunities to both batters and bowlers. Back home we have an indicator of sorts of 300 runs and 10 wickets in a day for a long format pitch.”
Hough also expressed his excitement on the PCB’s experiment of using Australian soil for pitches in Karachi and Lahore. The soil is set to reach Karachi in a week’s time. A pitch each at the NSK, Naya Nazimabad Cricket Ground (Karachi), GSL and National High Performance Centre (Lahore) will be prepared with the imported Australian soil.
“I believe it is an exciting initiative and an experiment that is worth having a close look at. The pitches prepared with the Australian soil will provide a great opportunity to Pakistan players before a tour of Australia in terms of their preparations for the pitches there. Once again, the PCB deserves credit for this initiative, I feel that there will be a lot to learn and observe once the pitches are laid and are ready for cricket,” he added