The Pakistan team management has decided against a training camp ahead of the ‘home’ series against Australia in the UAE owing to the cricketers’ participation in the inaugural edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) from August 10.
Team manager Naveed Akram Cheema, while confirming the plans, said that a brief conditioning camp might be established just to assemble the available players before Eid.
The SLPL has signed 13 Pakistan players and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) gave its approval as part of the deal with the Sri Lanka board which will, in return, send its cricketers for the planned Pakistan Premier League. Over half a dozen players expected to be the part of Pakistan’s squads against Australia will be busy in the league until the UAE tour that comprises three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and as many Twenty20s from August 28 to September 10.
Pakistan have already announced its squad for the Twenty20 series while the selectors are expected to name the ODI squad early next month. Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Misbahul Haq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal and Umer Gul are among the players who will feature in the league in Sri Lanka.
‘SLPL to give match practice’
Meanwhiel, Cheema hoped that the decision to not hold a training camp will not have any adverse effect on the high-profile series.
“The league will be good preparations for the tough series,” Cheema told The Express Tribune. “Most of our players will be getting a lot of match practice due to it. That is better than any training camp. We are, however, planning a three-day camp before Eid for conditioning purposes. The available players will attend the camp and will be given anti-corruption and anti-doping lectures. But the plan will be finalised after coach Dav Whatmore’s return from vacations.”
Cricketers training on their own
Meanwhile, the national cricketers are training on their own to avoid rustiness due to a PCB ban on their participation in Ramazan tournaments.
The Lahore-based players, including Misbah, Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali, are practicing at the National Cricket Academy while Afridi and Sarfraz Ahmed are continuing extensive training in Karachi.
“It is good that the players have resumed training after a short gap from Sri Lanka series,” said the manager. “It will help them stay in shape.”
“We’re concerned about the heat and we’re not comfortable with the playing hours. There are issues there with the players playing sport at that time of night. This tour has been put on for commercial reasons, not necessarily cricket reasons.”
“The league will be good preparation for the series. Most of our players will be getting a lot of match practice. That is better than any training camp. We are, however, planning a three-day camp before Eid for conditioning purpose.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.