Former captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who is also the front-runner to become Pakistan's next head coach, will oversee a 17-day pre-season camp for their national men's team at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Lahore which will start on August 19. (Cricket News)
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday named 20 A-list cricketers for the pre-season camp to be held from August 19 to September 7. Misbah, with the support of the NCA coaching staff, will craft the training programme and conduct the camp until the recruitment process has concluded.
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In a PCB release, the 45-year-old has been referred to as the 'camp commandant' of the conditioning camp, which will be conducted in army-style boot camp.
"Misbah ul Haq, who has been Pakistan's most successful captain, understands the arduous demands of the format in this day and age. With the advent of the World Test Championship, the PCB wants Pakistan to turn up with their best red ball game when they face Sri Lanka in the two-match Test series at home," said Zakir Khan, PCB Director of International Cricket.
"Ahead of the Sri Lanka series, these players will be a part of the initial rounds of what will be a highly competitive Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. So, this camp will further benefit them in gearing up for an exciting cricketing season."
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Fourteen centrally contracted and six additional cricketers have been invited to attend a camp. After two days of fitness testing, the 17-day conditioning camp will begin on August 22 and run until September 7.
During the pre-season camp, the players will undergo fielding drills and net sessions, along with fitness and other cricketing activities.
Misbah was instrumental in bringing army-style boot camp for Pakistan, and in 2016, the national team prepared for the tour of England at the Kakul Military Academy in Abbottabad. Misbah himself paid homage to the camp by doing a set of push-ups following Pakistan's Test victory at Lord's.
The camp has been set up to prepare the players for a competitive and challenging domestic and international cricket season, which is expected to begin with the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Trophy from September 12.
Apart from Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, first-class matches and number of domestic white-ball matches in relation to the National T20 Cup and Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament, the Pakistan cricket team is scheduled to play six World Test Championship Tests, three ODIs and nine T20Is in the forthcoming season.
Azhar Ali will join the camp from the outset after completing his contract with English county Somerset. Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Amir have been exempted from the camp so that they can complete their contracts with English counties Somerset, Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Essex respectively. They will return to Pakistan in time to participate in the opening round matches of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
The following comprise the 20-man contingent:
Centrally contracted: Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah.
Non-contracted players: Asif Ali, Bilal Asif, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mir Hamza, Rahat Ali, and Zafar Gohar.