Misbah-ul-Haq has on Thursday (March 25) made it clear that he isn’t looking too far ahead about his role as Pakistan head coach and is taking one series at a time while insisting the decision on his extension solely depends on Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
His three-year coaching contract with the Pakistan team will expire just before the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in India later in the year. He is now set for a twin tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe next month.
Misbah said in a virtual press conference on Thursday: “I always say that one can’t plan so ahead as far as my coaching is concerned. I take it from series to series. When the time comes it is time for the PCB to decide what is best for Pakistan cricket.”
He also insisted that Pakistan selectors and team management are on the same page on selection matters while highlighting Sharjeel Khan’s selection in the T20I squad for the upcoming tours.
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The coach further explained, “I had to say this is a Pakistan team because such things appear in the media and an impression is created that there is discord among team management and selectors over selection matters. But I say everything is done collectively.
I don’t know why Muhammad Asif or Salman Butt were not selected after completing their bans but what I know is that until there is a law that bars us from selecting a player after he has served any ban we can’t keep anyone out.”
Misbah has also made it clear that Sharjeel was selected because of his form and even they asked the opener to achieve his fitness before the T20 series in South Africa.
The former Pakistan captain continued, “He has to work hard and meet the required fitness standards of the team. He has to reach a certain level where there are no compromises. We will see how he progresses and improves his fitness without damaging his skill levels.”
He further said on the fitness discussions among the Pakistan cricketers, “We have had a detailed discussion on the fitness issue and we are trying to simplify the process for players by introducing parameters for players on which there will be no compromise.”
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Misbah further added, “But also relate it to performances on the ground by the players. We are giving targets to players depending on their requirements. We are not reducing the fitness benchmarks of the team. We are trying to relate it to match and ground fitness. It is not that we will reduce the benchmark of Yo yo tests from 18 to 15 marks.”
Pakistan will leave for the South Africa and Zimbabwe tour on Friday (March 26) after all the 22 members of the squad and 13 officials tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday and the coach said it will be challenging to play the ODI series without any practice games.
He signed off by saying, “We have less time to acclimatize to conditions in SA but I am confident that we can produce good results. It is all a matter of who is in form. We can consider any player at any time who is in form. No player is written off.”
(With PTI Inputs)