KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan said on Wednesday that the national team has the 'worst fitness levels' in the world and only Test captain Misbahul Haq and veteran batsman Younus Khan meet the minimum standard.
"None of our first-class teams measure up to the minimum domestic standard of fitness," said Shahryar.
"This makes it difficult to select a national team. These things have to be addressed over time, and it cannot be done overnight. Our fitness levels are not up to the international standards. We have to take drastic steps now because we don't have a culture of fitness and this has to be installed."
Shahryar landed in Dhaka on the first day of the second Test and said he wanted to be there to motivate team in a tour which has been depressing for the visitors so far.
"I have come here to witness the last Test and give my support personally to the team," he said.
"There is disappointment at the result of this tour but I was not surprised because Bangladesh have shown steady improvement over the last few years and cannot be taken lightly anymore.
"There are concerns back home with regard to Pakistan's performance, and I will talk to the coaches, manager and captain to find out the reasons for our unsuccessful tour. But I am not here to take immediate action. We have decided that we will sit down and assess the situation after the tour to see what is to be done with the team and the strategy."
The PCB chairman was particularly concerned about the difference in fitness levels.
"I think the problem is very deep, our fitness levels are very poor. We are only at grade 10 while teams like Australia and South Africa are at grade 14. You can see the difference in Bangladesh [too], they are fit. Our minimum level of fitness is only met by Misbah and Younis. None of the others meet this level, which is unacceptable."
Shahryar reassured that the board will not press the panic button and the national team lost to very good Bangladesh side.
"We are not pressing the panic button just yet,"said Shaharyar.
"We have lost here and lost it badly, but to a very good Bangladesh team. They are doing very well and playing with a lot of spirit as was evident from the way they recovered from a 300-run deficit in the previous Test in Khulna.
"But we will abide by our earlier decision and assess what changes are to be made, both in the short run and the long term. A short-run alteration would mean changing the captain and the selection committee, but I don't think that is the answer. Tinkering with the team will not make much of a difference. We are looking at remedial actions that will address the issues in the long run."
He concluded with comments about the cricketing ties between Pakistan and Bangladesh.
"We had a problem in the past as they were supposed to come to Pakistan in 2012 but they had their reasons," he said.
"We want to continue building ties between Pakistan and Bangladesh regularly. I know BCB want to reciprocate by coming to us later on, after two years, but meanwhile they are sending the women's team and we are happy with that"
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