Saturday, April 20

Pakistan cricketers worried about lengthy training camps ahead of England tour

Pakistan. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

International cricket is set to resume after the massive coronavirus outbreak that brought cricket to a halt back in March. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) agreed for a three-match Test series against the West Indies in July. Thereafter, Pakistan will lock horns with the Three Lions in a three-match Test and three-match T20I series. The series is set to get underway on August 5.

Prior to the tour, it’s been learned that the Pakistan cricketers are a tad reluctant to take part in lengthy training camps. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was planning to hold a month-long camp in a bio-secure environment at the National Cricket Academy, going by the health protocols. After the completion of the camp, the players were to depart for England on July 5 from NCA itself.

Pakistan cricketers will be allowed to practice in either Lahore or Karachi

However, as per reports in Cricket Pakistan, the players have expressed their reluctance regarding spending the long period of time away from their family members. The cricketers feel that there would be enough time for them to prepare after they reach England for the bilateral series. The sources also confirmed that the camp at the NCA is expected to be 10 to 15 days long.

The cricketers will be allowed to practice in Lahore or Karachi. For the training camp, the PCB faces the challenge of following the guidelines set by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Misbah-ul-Haq, the head coach and selector, Dr. Sohail Saleem, Director Medical and Sports Science and Zakir Khan, Director International Cricket are working on a number of options.

At the NCA, a safe zone is being created, bearing in mind the safety of the players. However, the facility is formed to accommodate only 16 players and four officials. It isn’t equipped to take 30 cricketers while also taking care of the protocols of social distancing. Therefore, calling players in groups of 10 is being thought about. For the time being, the PCB is waiting for a final schedule.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Pakistan cricket. Their third leg of the series against Bangladesh couldn’t take place. It consisted of a Test and ODI at the National Stadium in Karachi. The Pakistan Super League (PSL) also had to be shelved before the semi-finals.

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