Ahead of Zimbabwe series: PCB, team management at odds to rest players

Board asks national players to appear for their regions in Super8 T20 Cup.

Nabeel Hashmi May 12, 2015
With Pakistan returning from Bangladesh less than two weeks before the Zimbabwe series, the players have been faced with an uphill task of overcoming fatigue, playing in the ongoing Super8 T20 Cup and then facing the touring side starting May 22. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The domestic department of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the national team management are at loggerheads regarding the national team players’ participation in the ongoing Super8 T20 Cup in Faisalabad.

Pakistan arrived on May 11 after a full series against Bangladesh and were asked by the team management to rest ahead of the upcoming series against Zimbabwe, which takes place in less than two weeks’ time.

The team management officially wrote to the PCB stating that the national players should be given an off for a few days in order to recuperate ahead of what will be the first international home series in Pakistan since 2009.

However, Director Domestic Cricket Zakir Khan has ignored the suggestion from the team management and players have been told by their respective associations that they have no choice but to appear in the domestic T20 competition.

“We’re left in an awkward situation because of the different instructions we have received from the team management and the PCB domestic cricket officials,” a national player complained while talking to The Express Tribune.

“It’s the head coach and his support staff who want us to rest because we’ve just come back from Bangladesh and will be facing Zimbabwe in 10 days’ time. After that we have to go to Sri Lanka as well for a long series which consists of three Tests, five ODIs and T20Is as well. The PCB and the team management should be on the same page because it’s the players who will suffer.”

Pakistan are already struggling because of numerous injuries to players such as Muhammad Irfan, Rahat Ali, Sohaib Maqsood and Sohail Khan among others.

The team management wants to avoid extra injuries ahead of the series against Zimbabwe as the likes of Junaid Khan and Umar Gul have just made a comeback and still remain injury prone.

On the other hand, coaches of the Super8 teams feel the players must listen to the directives of the PCB officials as the team management is a temporary setup while the board will always remain intact.

“The players must understand that the team management and Waqar Younis are there today but they may not be at the helm in a few months’ time. It’s the board which looks after the players and thus their instructions need to be obeyed,” said one of the coaches.

The PCB is also caught in a difficult situation as sponsors have spent hefty amounts on the domestic competition and want star players to participate.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th,  2015.

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