Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has admitted that he and the national team “realistically considered pulling out of the New Zealand tour” following the nightmare they experienced in quarantine.
Upon arriving in New Zealand, Pakistan had to quarantine for 14 days, but Misbah said that this took a major mental and physical toll on the players.
In addition to this, numerous Pakistan players tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), which took the situation from bad to worse.
Calling off the tour of New Zealand and returning back to Pakistan was an enticing prospect for the Pakistan team, but Misbah said that the men in green opted to go ahead with the series “for fans sitting at home who want to watch the game and get entertained in this difficult time”.
“You try and analyse things and think realistically about every possible angle,” Misbah was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “You think about how many days we need to prepare, how we are going to prepare, how to lift your team.
“Obviously these aren’t normal circumstances; what happens here isn’t ideal. But then for the sake of international cricket you want cricket to go on, and being a big stakeholder, we will give our full effort to help cricket overall. We did discuss [about pulling out of the tour] but then finally decided to say no to this option because when you invest this much time on this, then you have got to give it a shot.
“Coping in the situation isn’t easy for anyone. But if we want to keep the game alive and keep it going we have to make this sacrifice for fans sitting at home who want to watch the game and get entertained in this difficult time. We, as players and coaches, are the biggest stakeholders and we have to keep on trying to give our every effort. Let’s see how long it can go like this and for how long players can sustain it. But I think as professionals we somehow have to manage ourself in the bubble or in quarantine.”
While the quarantine period is something the Pakistan team would like to forget, Misbah made it clear that he will not use it as an excuse if the team struggle against New Zealand.
“It’s not about blaming anyone. In fact it won’t make any difference what I say, facts remain facts,” he said. “As professionals we are not looking for excuses because at the end of the day, no matter whatever excuse you make people consider end results. So, our thought process is to forget about uncontrollable. Whatever happened, we can’t do much about it. What we can control is catching up with every minute and every moment we couldn’t get in those 14 days.
“After all it’s not easy to catch up with the lost time and squeeze two weeks of work in one week but the players are responding well, getting to regain their focus back in the field. We are trying our best to work out how to get back into the zone, retain our best skills and regain our fitness levels. We are here with a mission and the main thing what we play any sports is to win and we are confident that we can do well.”
Pakistan will play three T20 Internationals and two Tests in New Zealand, with the series beginning on December 18 and concluding on January 7.