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.
The Champions Trophy holders have been without a fielding coach ever since Australia’s Steve Rixon left his role upon the completion of his contract after the T20I series against Scotland.
The PCB has shortlisted Rixon’s compatriot Darren Berry for the job but the fielding coach has informed the governing body that he will not be able to join the side before the Asia Cup which takes place in September.
Berry, a former Australian first-class wicketkeeper-batsman, has undertaken various coaching roles at the state level and was recommended for the job by Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur.
He is said to have informed the PCB of his unavailability for the tour of Zimbabwe due to pre-existing commitments and the men in green will have to make do without the services of a fielding coach.
Pakistan will kick-start their tour of Zimbabwe with a T20I tri-series also involving Australia. The tri-series gets underway on July 1 with Sarfraz’s men taking on the hosts in the opening fixture.
Following the completion of the tri-series, Pakistan will take on Zimbabwe in a five-match ODI series which will start on July 13 with the final fixture taking place on July 22. The T20I tri-series will take place in Harare while the ODI series will be held in Bulawyo.