Head coach of the Pakistan cricket team, Misbah-ul-Haq reveals that they contemplated pulling out of the matches against New Zealand after they were not allowed to train groups. The New Zealand Health Ministry extended the quarantine period of the Pakistan contingent as 10 members of the visitors’ squad tested positive for the covid-19 virus.
They were initially supposed to serve just 3 days isolation post which they would be allowed to train in small groups. However, some players were found to be flouting the covid protocols. They were seen sharing food, roaming out of their rooms, and mingling with each other while placed in isolation.
Hence, the New Zealand government gave them a ‘final warning’ and another breach of the rules may have resulted in the team being sent back home.
A week before the first T20I the team is now finally exempted after a prolonged quarantine period, and Misbah was asked about whether they thought of returning to Pakistan.
We discussed our options with the PCB: Misbah-ul-Haq
Misbah asserts that after being subjected to do additional quarantine and not allowed to train even in small groups, he took the matter up with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). They decided then to stay as they have already spent plenty of time in New Zealand. He feels that they were unlucky as the players made some unintentional mistakes.
As quoted by Hindustan Times, Misbah-ul-Haq said, “Obviously these were not normal circumstances and we discussed with the cricket board options but in the end, we decided that now that we have already been in New Zealand for so long we must remain and finish the tour. We are a bit unlucky we couldn’t start training after three days.”
The former captain spoke at length about how they have to train and practice in a week rather than the expected three weeks duration. He also underlined that the cricket boards have to find ways to make the lives of the players easier in the bio-bubble.
“But in the end we have to make up for lost time and we are now on a mission to play good cricket and win here. If we have to co-exist with COVID-19 and also ensure cricket is played then all teams have to give sacrifices like we did here.”
“It is a great stress mentally on the players who are the main stakeholders of the sport and from what I know cricket boards are already working on ways to ease things for us,” added Misbah-ul-Haq.
The 3-match T20I series begins on 18th December followed by 2 Test matches. This is Babar Azam’s first assignment as an all-format leader.