LAHORE: Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has confirmed that former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will be part of the squad for the upcoming tour of England.
The wicket-keeper batsman last represented Pakistan in any format since October after he was sacked as captain. Pakistan is planning to send 25 players to England in July to meet the demands of playing an entire tour in a ‘bio-secure’ environment.
“We will be taking a group of 25 to 27 players to England because we can’t ask for replacements and we all have to be together from start to end so that no one catches the virus,” he said in an interview to an online-based channel.
“Yes it makes sense to take two keepers on this tour because where will we find a replacement in those conditions. Sarfaraz is obviously our choice,” Misbah added.
Misbah clarified that he had no personal motive in axing Sarfaraz as captain of the side from all formats.
“I felt that as time progressed Sarfaraz was feeling more pressure because of his own form which was suffering. It was a decision to give him a break so that he could rest and make a strong comeback. I am happy to see that he has worked very hard on his fitness and game. He is very much in our plans,” he maintained.
Misbah also said that the upcoming tour of England will not be easy for anyone part of the team as circumstances are not ideal for cricket.
“There is a feeling of depression right now all over the world because of this Covid-19 problem and with sports suspended there is no entertainment. People want to move on so I think we must give it a try,” he said.
Pakistan is expected tour England for three Tests and as many T20Is. ECB had convinced PCB over biosecurity arrangements during the tour. ECB proposed to start the series with the first Test from August 5 instead of July 30.
Pakistan will arrive via chartered plan earlier in July and players will remain in quarantine for 14 days before going out for training.
Regarding the T20 World Cup in Australia, Misbah said cricket authorities must not postpone event in haste since it is the best product to highlight cricket once activities resume.
Misbah said though logistics is a huge challenge due to the prevailing circumstances and authorities must deliberate enough before arriving at a decision.
“The logistics of hosting 16 teams is not easy but the authorities should give it time and wait for a month or more before taking any decision,” Misbah said. “Everyone wants to see the T20 World Cup. It would be the best product to highlight cricket once activities resume internationally,” he said.
Misbah also insisted that pace bowlers Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Aamir’s exclusion from central contracts had nothing to do with their decision to quit red ball cricket.
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