KARACHI: Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq on Thursday made it clear he doesn’t want to look too far ahead and is taking one series at a time, saying the decision to give him an extension lies solely with the PCB.
Misbah’s three-year coaching contract will expire just before the T20 World Cup in India later in the year.
“I always say that one can’t plan so ahead as far as my coaching is concerned. I take it series to series. When the time comes it is time for the PCB to decide what is best for Pakistan cricket,” he said in a virtual press conference.
Misbah said the selectors and team management are on the same page on selection matters, making it clear that he doesn’t want to dwell on tainted T20 opener Sharjeel Khan’s selection.
“I had to say this is a Pakistan team because such things appear in the media and an impression is created that there is discord among team management and selectors over selection matters. But I say everything is done collectively,” he said.
“I don’t know why Muhammad Asif or Salman Butt were not selected after completing their bans but what I know is that until their is a law that bars us from selecting a player after he has served any ban we can’t keep anyone out.”
The Pakistan coach said Sharjeel has been selected because of his form and he has been told that he has time before the T20 series in South Africa to achieve his fitness.
“… he has to work hard and meet the required fitness standards of the team. He has to reach a certain level where there are no compromises,” Misbah said.
“We will see how he progresses and improves his fitness without damaging his skill levels.”
Chief selector, Muhammad Wasim had recently said that fitness benchmark was being brought down to occupy more skillful players.
Misbah said: “We have had a detailed discussion on the fitness issue and we are trying to simplify the process for players by introducing parameters for players on which there will be no compromise.
“But also relate it to performances on the ground by the players. We are giving targets to players depending on their requirements.
“We are not reducing the fitness benchmarks of the team. We are trying to relate it to match and ground fitness. It is not that we will reduce the benchmark of Yoyo tests from 18 to 15 marks.”
Pakistan will leave for the twin tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe on Friday after all the 22 members of the squad and 13 officials tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday.
Pakistan will play four T20Is and three ODIs in South Africa starting next month and Misbah said it would be challenging going and playing the ODI series without any practice games.
“We have less time to acclimatize to conditions in SA but I am confident that we can produce good results,” he said.
Misbah said that no players, including seniors, have been written off and they will be considered for future selection.
“It is all a matter of who is in form. We can consider any player at any time who is in form. No player is written off.”
Misbah also said that the postponement of the PSL 6 had allowed players to have a break and the training camp was also short.
“We had some concerns that if the PSL had been completed on schedule and we would have left immediately for South Africa remaining in the bio-secure bubble for such a long time,” he said.
“But now this break has been welcome and I think our players are mentally very strong in these circumstances and the team bonding is very good.”