LAHORE (AFP) – Pakistan plans to fine its most unfit players if they fail to meet tough new standards, former fast bowler Mohammad Akram told AFP as he wrapped up a month-long boot camp with the team.
Long regarded as one of cricket’s most mercurial teams, Pakistan have thrived on the efforts of talented individuals in the past — but their fitness levels have often let them down, particularly when fielding.
That’s part of the reason they have stayed stuck in the middle rankings over the past decade as fitter teams like Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka have raced ahead.
The team has not been helped by the country’s reputation as a “no go” location for international squads ever since terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009, killing eight people.
The attacks forced Pakistan to play all its home matches in neutral venues within the United Arab Emirates, while the recent efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board to see an international side play in the troubled country have been further thwarted by terrorism.
Ireland on Wednesday cancelled a scheduled September tour following a militant siege on Karachi airport Sunday that left 37 people dead, dashing hopes of reviving international cricket following a five year hiatus.