KARACHI: While Pakistan coach Waqar Younis concentrates on the physical training of players, the team’s new manager Naveed Akram Cheema will stress on discipline during the camp that starts tomorrow for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe.
The week-long camp at Qaddafi Stadium, Lahore, will be held in two sessions with the team departing for Zimbabwe on August 25 for the tour that includes a one-off Test, three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20s.
According to the team manager, the first session of the training camp, from 3 to 6 pm, will see players practise in the nets apart from having fielding drills. Players will spend the second session in the gym.
Manager to be seen in action
However, the camp will not be restricted to just physical training of players as Cheema has planned disciplinary lectures for players during the whole week.
“The camp will not just be about training,” Cheema told The Express Tribune.
“I’ll be giving lectures before the training sessions for around a couple of hours as guidelines on maintaining discipline.
“Players will also be informed about the strict penalties they might face for discipline breaches and each one of them will have to attend the lectures.”
Cheema, who replaced Intikhab Alam for the Zimbabwe series, said he has taken the tour as a mission and will give his best to avoid any controversy that features the national team members.
‘Scandals have hit Pakistan hard’
Pakistan lost three players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - over their role in a spot-fixing scandal while disputes with the management also cost former captain Shahid Afridi his place in the team.
Cheema was keen to make a fresh controversy-free start. “My target will be to avoid controversies and scandals that have affected the national team a lot.
“I would not hesitate in taking action against any player to ensure discipline during the tour.”
County players to attend camp
Meanwhile, the manager informed that fast-bowler Junaid Khan (Lancashire) and Saeed Ajmal (Worcestershire) have been released by their county sides for national duty.
“Both of them will attend the camp. Junaid has arrived and Ajmal is expected to join the camp [today],” added Cheema.
Pakistan start the tour with a two-day warm-up game against Zimbabwe XI at Bulawayo on August 28 before the only Test commences from September 1 at the same venue.
Afridi expects close contest
Former captain Shahid Afridi said that he expects Zimbabwe to stand up and offer a tough fight to Pakistan. Zimbabwe, on their Test return after a self-imposed six-year exile, outclassed Bangladesh and the former captain felt their performance makes the upcoming series interesting. “Zimbabwe are playing good cricket,” Afridi told reporters in Karachi. “I’m expecting good matches in the series considering Zimbabwe’s performance who will also have the home advantage.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2011.