The 19 players called up for the T20I tri-series also involving Australia and the five-match ODI series against the hosts underwent the fitness test recently under the watchful eyes of head coach Mickey Arthur at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore.
The South African coach has aimed to instilled stricter fitness regimes ever since he took on the role and under his tenure, the side has improved leaps and bounds in that aspect over the past year or so.
Arthur expressed his satisfaction with the results after all the players had undergone the test.
“I’m very pleased with the results of the fitness tests,” he was quoted as saying by Cricket365.com.
“We have tried to set a benchmark and develop a fitness culture in recent months, our efforts have paid off and I’m delighted how the players have taken to the culture,” the South African added.
Arthur also praised the work of Pakistan fitness coach Grant Luden for his work with the team.
“I would also like to thank team trainer Grant Luden and the coaches and trainers at NCA for ensuring that the players remain steadfast and follow the routines prescribed to them,” he said.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s men are currently undergoing a three-day training camp at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore which will culminate on June 28. The team will depart for their tour of Zimbabwe on June 29 and take on the hosts in the first match of the T20I tri-series on July 1.
Pakistan stars Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf took time out of their ongoing three-day training camp in Lahore ahead of the Zimbabwe tour to pay a visit to the cricket academy established by the batsman.
Azhar was not picked for any of Pakistan’s limited-overs squads for the Zimbabwe tour. However, that didn’t stop the 33-year-old from inviting his team-mates to interact with budding cricketers at his academy.
“Big thanks to Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf for visiting summer camp this morning. Young cricketers got lots of motivation,” the Pakistan batsman wrote on Twitter while sharing images of the stars interacting with the kids at the academy.
“Kids were so happy to meet their heroes at summer camp and even more happier when they got some important tips from them,” Azhar added.
Some more pictures from this morning. Kids were so happy to meet their heroes at summer camp and even more happier when they got some important tips from them. 🇵🇰🇵🇰🇵🇰@FakharZamanLive @76Shadabkhan @iFaheemAshraf #AzharAliCricketsummercamp pic.twitter.com/UzTYeIqh9i— Azhar Ali (@AzharAli_) June 25, 2018
Pakistan are scheduled to play a T20I tri-series also involving Australia during their tour of Zimbabwe before taking on the hosts in a five-match ODI series. The limited-overs-squads are currently undergoing a training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore and will depart for the African nation on June 29.
According to the ICC, top-ranked Pakistan – currently on 131 points – will fight to protect their No1 spot during the upcoming T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe which also includes No2 ranked Australia (126 points). The tri-series will be played from July 1-8.
Australia play England in a one-off T20 on Wednesday and irrespective of the result of that game, the Aussies will overtake Pakistan after the tri-series if they win all four matches against Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
If the Aussies win the T20 against England and all matches of the tri-series including the final, they will move up to 137 points. Meanwhile, if Pakistan win all four matches and the final, they will remain No1 with 136 points.
Meanwhile, India – ranked third on 123 points – can reach the top spot if they win their next five T20 matches – two against Ireland (starting on Wednesday) and three against England – by reaching 127 points. England (fifth on 115 points), on the other hand, too can become the No1 side if they beat Australia on Wednesday and then defeat India 3-0. However, both India and England will need Zimbabwe to pull off a few upsets in the tri-series to keep both Australia and Pakistan below their ranking points.