Seven additional cricketers invited to join national camp

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LAHORE: In an abrupt decision, seven more players were on Thursday invited to attend a seven-day national training camp of Pakistan’s ODI and T20 squads announced recently for the upcoming tours to South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Interestingly, all the players already selected for the Africa tour are required to report at a local hotel for the camp starting on Friday.

The additional players who have been called to the camp include Amad Butt, Faisal Akram, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Imran, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dhani and Zahid Mahmood.

“Previously, we had conducted a camp of 25 players, who remain at the periphery of the men’s side, during the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 with the same idea. I am sure that these players will benefit from the presence of top-quality coaches and these off-season initiatives will help them enhance their skill-set,” chief selector Mohammad Wasim said.

In addition two more cricketers — Azam Khan and Sohaib Maqsood — were invited to the National High Performance Centre (NHPC) in Lahore, as a reward for their impressive performance in domestic cricket, and to expand the pool of players, a PCB press release said.

The NHPC is aimed at improving the skills of deserving players by removing their flaws. Interestingly, there are a good number of other players who fared well in the last domestic season but only two performers have been rewarded.

Wasim did not give any solid reason for inviting the additional seven players for the camp, while only saying that the decision was taken to “keep them in rhythm and provide them with the desired skill work so they are ready for the national side”.

According to the PCB, being part of the pre-departure camp for the white-ball cricketers provides an opportunity for Shahnawaz and Zahid, who received maiden call-ups in the Test side last week, to find their rhythm before they leave for Zimbabwe with the Test players on April 12.

“Following the departure of the white-ball squad for South Africa on March 26, the players who have been dropped from the national side but remain in consideration for the national team will also be invited at the NHPC where they will work on various physical and technical aspects of the game,” added the PCB release.

Meanwhile, all the players, barring Hasan Ali, of the ODIs and T20 teams have reported at a local hotel where they were tested for Covid-19.

Hasan tested positive but there are reports that the pacer will be cleared as he had already been detected as a positive case during PSL 6 and he was antibody case; whenever he would be tested some symptoms may be detected but such cases fall in the ‘flaws positive’ category.