NCA, SPD employees give salaries to Covid-19 fund

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LAHORE Pakistan cricket team head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has said it is the best time to do homework to maintain fitness and to be in right mindset for selection for the series in England. In a virtual press conference on Tuesday, he said he had already asked all players, who are in self-isolation, to keep working on their fitness and also study the strengths and weaknesses of the English team. “I have been in touch with most of the players including centrally contracted players and the trainer. We are sending them plans according to their equipment at home to remain in shape as a team,” he said and added: “I want the physical condition of players to be what is required in Test cricket whenever cricket resumes.” The former Pakistan captain also suggested extending the time span of the ICC World Test Championship with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing all cricketing activities to a halt and potentially throwing the international schedule haywire. “I just think that all the teams must get equal opportunities in the championship even if matches are rescheduled,” he said. “Whenever cricket resumes, all the teams should get equal opportunity in the ICC World Test Championship to try to play in the final. The tournament can be extended beyond 2021,” he added. The inaugural Test Championship, according to the original schedule, runs from 2019 to 2021. Pakistan had to postpone one off Test of the championship against Bangladesh at home following the coronavirus outbreak earlier this month. The ICC has indicated that it would talk to member boards to find a solution to the matches of the championship, which will be hit by the pandemic and one option which will be discussed would be awarding points for cancelled matches. The former captain said that if teams did not get equal opportunity to play in the championship, then results would not be fair. “The tournament should be extended according to my view. That is the only way out we can find and end the event in a balanced way. Matches can be rescheduled if the event is extended,” he asserted. To a query about pay cuts of Pakistani players and officials, if the coronavirus pandemic continues for a long time, the head coach said when the contracts of players expire in June, the board and players will sit down and decide what to do. “When new contracts come, we will see situation and take the right decisions and players will have to understand and it will not be a one-way decision and everyone is mentally ready for the situation,” he asserted. When asked his coaching could not produce fruitful results for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020, Misbah said that he had no regrets regarding coaching Islamabad United in the PSL-5 despite the twotime champions finishing bottom of the table, adding that he doesn’t see his maiden campaign with United as a failure. “I have no regrets about coaching Islamabad United,” Misbah said and added: “All the teams were equally strong and Islamabad were in the top four till the very end. Overall, Islamabad United played good cricket but some things did not go our way.” Misbah said ‘his critics have the right to say what they want’ but added that criticism does not bother him one bit. “I try and learn from the positives.” He said the bowlers had a hard time in the PSL-5. “Lahore Qalandars’ bowler Dilbar Hussain impressed him a lot and he has potential of becoming a good T20 bowler. But Sharjeel Khan couldn’t impress me as his fitness needs a lot to be desired.” He also talked about the fate of the unfinished PSL 2020, saying that the remaining matches should be played instead of declaring the league’s leaders Multan Sultans as it won’t be fair to decide the fate of the PSL-5 in such a way.—APP