Tuesday Jun 07 2022

Ramiz Raja insisted on staging ODI series in Multan despite hot weather, say sources

Image collage showing PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja speaking during a press briefing (L) and Pakistani bowlers celebrating on the field during a match with West Indies. — AFP
Image collage showing PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja speaking during a press briefing (L) and Pakistani bowlers celebrating on the field during a match with West Indies. — AFP

MULTAN: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja insisted on staging the rescheduled ODI series between Pakistan and West Indies in Multan despite the extremely hot weather there, officials privy to the matter told Geo Super.

According to sources, other local stakeholders of the game agreed to postpone the rescheduled ODI home series against West Indies after it had to be shifted from Rawalpindi to Multan due to the ongoing political unrest in the country.

However, the PCB chairman has issued directions to go as per the plan despite knowing that Multan remains one of the hottest places in Pakistan during the months of June and July. The series is scheduled to begin on June 8.

On Monday, Multan observed 45 degrees and the hot weather is likely to continue till next week. The Pakistani squad came out for training with full strength on Monday despite the rising temperatures and the team management had to keep a vigilant eye on precautionary measures to save the players from any mishaps.

Former Test cricketer Sikandar Bakht criticised the PCB for choosing Multan as an alternate venue instead of Karachi.

"I can't understand PCB's mindset," Bakht told Geo Super

"Karachi must have been an alternative option to host this series. Wasn't the PCB aware of the weather conditions of the Punjab region in June and July?" the cricketer-turned-analyst questioned.

"They [PCB] dug pitches in Karachi and then had to move matches to Multan in such hot weather. I am in Karachi right now, weather is hot but the sea breeze is making it slightly better than Multan. Whoever decided to dig pitches in Karachi at this point in time made a big blunder," the analyst maintained.

The pitches in Karachi's National Stadium and Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium are under construction.

From the production crew to groundsmen, everyone seemed concerned about working in extremely hot temperatures in Multan. A production crew member took a dig at PCB for hosting the cricket series in Multan in the summers. 

"I don't know why the PCB took this risk. Compelling the player to play in the scorching hot weather is ridiculous," he told Geo Super.

"It's not only about the players. There are a lot of other people like us involved in organising a cricket series. Who will think about us? It's too hard and risky to work in this weather," he lamented.

Meanwhile, a Multan-based doctor named Imran Rafiq also suggested that outdoor activities in such weather should be avoided in the city.

"Multan remains very hot in June and July. It will keep getting hotter later in the month. It's better to not organise outdoor activities in this weather as it increases the risk factors of getting heatstroke," he shared.

"During Pakistan vs West Indies series, players and all people involved should take complete care of themselves. They should drink water as much as they can, consume oral rehydration salts, and use umbrellas in open areas," he suggested.