Adapting to the conditions and safety protocols in the U.K. will be difficult for Pakistan’s players but they are ready for the challenge, Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has said. England will host Pakistan for a three-Test series and a T20 series in a bio-secure environment to minimise the risk posed by the novel Coronavirus.
“These are unusual circumstances. There will be different protocols in place for the tour because of the existing world situation. It is going to be difficult for the players and officials but we have to adapt accordingly,” Misbah said during a media interaction.
The Pakistan Cricket Board announced a 29-member squad for the tour on Friday. Fourteen officials will also be part of the Pakistan contingent. “I and Dr. Sohail Saleem have had interactions with the players on the tour and everyone understands the situation. We have prepared them for every situation like a player testing positive or showing mild symptoms: having to train in isolation for four weeks, staying in a 14-day quarantine, playing before empty stadiums and adapting to the on-field [Standard Operating Procedures],” Misbah said.
‘Not an easy situation’
“It is not an easy situation for us as we haven’t played Cricket for three months but I am counting on this factor of the players having missed playing cricket and being hungry to get back on the field. We have a good squad to pick from and we can do well in English conditions,” Misbah said.
The selectors picked 10 fast bowlers and four spinners because the bowlers would find it difficult to adjust to the new playing conditions, explained Misbah. He said players would have ample time to adjust while training in isolation and that it was a good opportunity for the young players in the side to gain exposure.
Misbah, who is also the chief selector, said it wasn’t an easy selection process as ideally the Board would have chosen different squads for different formats. “But we have done our best and I know 29 is a lot of players but we have tried to ensure we have both specialists for red and white-ball formats because we go and come back together.”
He also welcomed the inclusion of Younis Khan as the batting coach of the team and said the players in the side will learn a lot from him. “I have played a lot with Younis and the good thing is many players have played alongside him and they understand each other. Most of us understand his mentality, game plan, work ethics and planning,” he said.
“Younis will be a big help for us and we know he will give 100 percent. He will be a big help to me and we can share workload during our camp in England and it will be easier for me to handle 29 players.”
With Haris Sohail pulling out of the tour, Fawad Alam had a good opportunity to shine for Pakistan, felt Misbah. “Look if we have picked Fawad in the team it is because we believe he can play at the top level.”
Wahab available to play Tests
Misbah said left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz told him he was ready to make a return to Test cricket if his services were required during the England tour. Mohammad Amir pulled out of the tour as his wife was expected to give birth to their second child around August but Wahab was named on Friday in the 29-member squad announced for the full tour, starting next month.
“Yes I spoke to Wahab about this and he said if needed, he will be available to play the Test matches in England,” Misbah said.
Riaz, who has played 27 Tests, last played a Test in October, 2018 against Australia in the UAE.