KARACHI: Pakistan’s Test captain Misbahul Haq has reported for the ongoing fitness tests in Lahore, ahead of a boot camp in Abbottabad that begins on Friday, after returning from Umrah.
Misbah is eager to carry on playing Test cricket not just for the upcoming tour of England but also at least till the end-of-the-year tour in Australia. Misbah will turn 42 this month but shows no signs of slowing down, and recently led Islamabad in the 50-over Pakistan Cup.
Pakistan Cup: Misbah guides Islamabad to victory
Fitness paramount for board
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been laying special emphasis in the last two years on improving the fitness of centrally contracted players.
Contracted players are given goals to achieve within three months – those who fail to achieve the goals are fined, while those who achieve or surpass them are rewarded financially.
Apart from their on-field performances, the selectors will also be looking at the fitness of the players before awarding them new central contracts.
The likes of Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim and Haris Sohail — who have all been named for the camp — have not appeared in the ongoing fitness test as they are still recovering from injuries.
The national selection committee — led by legendary batsman Inzamamul Haq — had named 35 players as probables for the senior team, while another 25 were named for the A team which will also be playing in England.
All-rounder Shahid Afridi, who recently stepped down as Pakistan’s T20I captain, has already excused himself from appearing in the tests due to a slight niggle in his knee that he has brought to the board’s knowledge.
However, he is expected to appear for Hampshire in England’s T20 Blast in the summer.
Players unhappy with ‘unfair’ treatment
Reports claim some players have complained of double standards in the tests as they feel they are being treated harshly as compared to others in the team.
Misbah in reckoning for ODI captaincy
The board, however, has denied these allegations. “The reports that there are double standards in training are totally baseless because players are training in groups,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune. “Those who are unfit are complaining as they know they will fail the fitness test.”
Meanwhile, psychologist and nutritionist Asad Rezzvi has been giving lectures to the players for two hours every day once the two training sessions are completed.
The training is being looked after by trainer Grant Luden and officials of the National Cricket Academy.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2016.
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