Fourteen centrally contracted and six additional men cricketers have been invited to attend a pre-season camp, which will commence at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore on August 19. After two days of fitness testing, the 17-day conditioning camp will begin on August 22 and run until September 7.
As the process for the appointment of the players support personnel has been initiated, former captain Misbahul Haq, with the support of the NCA coaching staff, will craft the training programme and overlook of the camp until the recruitment process has concluded.
During the pre-season camp, the players will undergo fielding drills and net sessions, along with fitness and other cricketing activities.
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 31 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 (in alphabetical order):
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
Non-participating centrally contracted players: Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Amir
Zakir Khan, Director International Cricket, said: “This conditioning camp is of great significance. The players will undergo strenuous training sessions to prepare for a demanding season, which will see Pakistan spend 30 of their 42 cricket-playing days in Test cricket.
“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.
“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.
“As five players are already playing active cricket in England and Wales, we have given exemptions to them but they have been advised to return to Pakistan in time to be available for the first round matches of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.”