Pakistan’s training for the series against New Zealand has been hampered by not being permitted to practise in their controlled isolation in Christchurch, head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said on Sunday.
On their arrival, eight members of the 53-strong Pakistan squad have tested positive for coronavirus, causing the New Zealand Ministry of Health to revoke Friday’s training exemption for visitors.
“Top professional athletes need to prepare for a certain environment so that they can perform at the minimum expected levels,” Misbah said in a statement after announcing an 18-member squad for the Twenty20 three-match series due to start on Saturday in Auckland.
Although we fully support and recognise the laws of the government of New Zealand… There is no denying the fact that our athletes have been harmed by the introduction of such laws, both psychologically and physically.
However, Misbah had no doubt that the visitors, currently enduring a 14-day isolation period, will be prepared to challenge New Zealand, who in a Hamilton test on Sunday thumped West Indies within four days.
In the next day or two, as we leave the isolation centre, we will try to bring all of this behind us and concentrate on the challenge of facing New Zealand in both formats,” said the former captain of Pakistan.”
In the only change from the team that beat Zimbabwe 3-0 last month, former captain and stumper Sarfaraz Ahmed returned to the Twenty20 team, along with all-rounder Hussain Talat.
We have maintained the squad which has been playing together for some time for the T20Is,” Misbah said.”
The team involves young, energetic and high-performing players who are determined and ready to make names for themselves and further secure their roles in the squad.
The teams will also play a two-test series starting Dec 26 at Mount Maunganui.
Criticism and anger
Criticism of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) within the nation has been created by the current situation of the players.
The current PCB setup was blasted by former chairman Zaka Ashraf for its gross mismanagement that culminated in the messy and troubled situation with the Pakistan team in New Zealand after too many of its players tested positive for Covid-19 there.
Are these well paid PCB officials there to create such an embarrassment because of their unprofessional and unethical way of working with the Pakistani players? He questioned. The condition does not cause shame for hosts New Zealand, he said, but for Pakistan and PCB for their gross mismanagement.
He said after opener Fakhar Zaman was separated from the squad due to fever at the eleventh hour of departure, both players and officials should have been checked again. While the PCB argues that because of fever, Fakhar Zaman was separated from the group, a new Covid-19 test of the whole squad could have been completed, even at the expense of delaying the team’s departure to Auckland,” he contended.