Of late, Pakistan national cricket team players’ activeness or lack of it on the field has been under scrutiny from experts and former players. Even the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) seems to have taken notice of this issue. Now, in an effort to improve the team’s fitness, the players are going to train with the army.

Yes, you read it right. The ‘Men in Green’ are all set to go on a 10-day rigorous training with the Pakistan Army from March 25 to April 8, a week after the Pakistan Super League (PSL) concludes on March 18.

PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi announced the decision, hoping that the players would get their fitness ‘up to speed’.

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“When I was watching the matches in Lahore, I don’t think a single one of you hit a six that went into the stands. Whenever a six like that was hit, I used to think a foreign player must have hit that. I have asked the board to make a plan that gets every player’s fitness up to speed. You’ll have to make a proper effort for that,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Naqvi as saying.

“We have New Zealand coming up, then Ireland, England and the T20 World Cup. I wondered, ‘When will we train?’ but there was no time. However, we’ve found a window, where we’ve organised a camp in Kakul (military academy) from March 25 to April 8. The Pakistan Army will be involved in your training, and hopefully, they’ll help you out,” he added.

In Pakistan cricket, training under the nation’s army to regain fitness is not a first-ever experiment. The national team, during Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy, organised a training camp with the military at Kakul Academy as part of its preparations for a Test series against England.

In the series, Misbah scored a century in the first Test and then celebrated by doing 10 pushups, which was followed by a military salute.

Naqvi also emphasised the importance of players prioritising national duties instead of focusing on T20 leagues. “I’m not going to say you mustn’t earn money, or ask you to make sacrifices we are also not ready to make. But let me give you one example. One year ago, I was asked to become the chief minister of Punjab, and it caused me a financial loss in my business. I had to leave that aside and incur several extra costs. But I had a desire to represent Pakistan, and so I had to make that sacrifice,” he said.

“I will support you 100 per cent, but I’ll just ask you to make Pakistan your first priority, and T20 leagues your second priority. It’s unfortunate when money becomes first priority and the country second. If you do that, then we might have a problem. We can even look at central contracts and bolster them further if you desire, but you must be available for Pakistan first and foremost,” Naqvi added.

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Published: 06 Mar 2024, 06:10 PM IST

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