Stuart Clarke lambasts ‘poor’ Dubai pitch

Former Australia pacer believes such wicket is making Test cricket an unattractive product

Stuart Clarke lambasts ‘poor’ Dubai pitch PHOTO: AFP

Former Australian pacer Stuart Clark has criticised the pitch for the ongoing first Test of the two-match series between Tim Paine’s XI and Sarfraz Ahmed-led unit in Dubai.

Pakistan are in the driving seat in the match after scoring a mammoth total of 482 on the board in their first innings, courtesy sublime centuries from veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez and left-handed batsman Haris Sohail. While doing so, the Men in Green batted 162.5 overs and made things difficult for the Kangaroos bowling attack.

In reply, Australia were bamboozled by debutante Bilal Asif’s five-wicket hual and were bundled out for just 202.

Clark, who has represented the Baggy Greens in 24 Tests and 39 ODIs, where he collectively claimed 147 wickets, believes slow nature of the pitch in Dubai is making Test cricket looks boring.

“It’s a pretty poor wicket,” Clark told “The wicket’s obviously very, very flat and very hard to get guys out. But the Australians tried hard, they toiled hard and they did pretty much all they could. They didn’t have much luck but it was really hard to do anything given that there was just nothing in the wicket.”

He added: “Sport is an entertainment product. It is an entertainment product and we’re seeing it in all sports — not just cricket — that fans want to be entertained but this game is just not great to watch unfortunately.”

Clarke also believes with such pitches, the idea of taking toss out of the equation in Test cricket becomes even more suitable.

“Preparing wickets and making them conducive to entertaining cricket is hard work because everything’s got to work in your favour,” said Clark. “It’s obviously very hot over there, but I don’t think that should be used as an excuse.  But after seeing such tracks, one of the things that has been floated — and Ricky Ponting and the ICC rules committee have floated this idea — is to take the toss out of the game seems like a reasonable one.”

He continued by saying that: “Because, with that, the team touring gets to choose whether they want to bat or bowl, so it will take away the ability, or the want, for home teams to just produce just very, very docile boring wickets or try and make them a bit more sporting. In the beginning, I didn’t like the idea but now I think it’s a good one given what I’ve seen because it’s just not entertaining cricket. Whether that works, I still don’t know.”

The 43-year-old further went on to say that Test cricket can only survive if it evolves with the time.  “There are many theories on Test cricket,” he said. “Test cricket is the purest form of the game and it’s the hardest and the biggest challenge, and that’s why it’s called Test cricket. Whether it’s holding the game back, I don’t quite know. But it’s not allowing the game to try move forward. I still think there are plenty of people who like Test cricket, that enjoy Test cricket, but people want to see a competition, bat vs ball, and when you don’t get that, you get what you’re getting here — it takes away the charm from the product.”