Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan players could be fined as much as 25 per cent of their monthly wages if they fail to adhere to the fitness levels imposed by the National Cricket Academy.
Three of the 31 players who were tested failed to show up for their evaluation between September 6 and 8.
The trio were all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who was not in Pakistan at the time, opening batsman Nasir Jamshed, who got married recently, and pace bowler Wahab Riaz, who was spending time with his new-born daughter in hospital.
It is understood that all three of them can get tested at a later date.
“This was a follow-up to the fitness camp we held in Lahore where players were told they now had to meet a standard set by the coaching panel and fitness trainers at the NCA,” National Cricket Academy head coach Mohammad Akram said. “These tests were held to see whether the players have followed the procedures to maintain fitness standards given to them in the fitness camp.”
Akram also revealed that players had progressed by “35 per cent to 48 per cent”, but added that the ideal target was 50 per cent.
“There is a definite improvement as players apart from those who were on the [Sri Lanka] tour have also maintained their fitness despite being away from the competitive cricket and that’s the spirit we wanted to develop,” he said. “A player in the off-season might get relaxed [about his fitness], but the contract would keep them on their toes. I can’t disclose the results but but some players with a high level of fitness are Younis Khan, Shan Masood, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Amin, Bilawal Bhatti and Asad Shafiq. And even the players I felt may fall down with their lack of fitness have shown a significant development.”
One player who is getting special treatment is left-arm pace bowler Mohammad Irfan since he not only stands at 7ft 1in, but also recently recovered from a hip injury.
“We have adopted caution in his case, but he is fit and needs match practice,” Akram said. “He will get in full flow the more cricket he plays. Unfortunately, the domestic season is yet to start and he is lacking competitive cricket but we have to manage his workload and will only consider him for the one-dayers.”