A good Sign (Whatmore’s special emphasis on fitness of Pakistani cricketers)

Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore’s special emphasis is on the fitness of cricketers, as selectors are all set to name separate teams for Tests, ODIs and T20.

Seven Pakistan cricketers, including the out-of-favour former captain Mohammad Yousuf and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, took part in the second phase of the fitness tests at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore.

Aizaz Cheema, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Tanvir were the other players who took part in the drills yesterday.

The coaching panel, which also includes fielding coach Julien Fountain, launched the tests in order to bring about improvement in the players’ fitness levels, The Express Tribune reports.

According to officials close to the selection committee, the tests will also help the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) get a clear idea about the players as the selectors looked to form separate teams for all three formats.

However, it remains to be seen whether this plan will be implemented in time for the tour of Sri Lanka, the squad for which will be named in the first week of May.

“The main purpose of the tests is to check and expand the bench strength. Whatmore will have clear idea about the players by conducting their fitness tests. But forming separate teams for Sri Lanka tour is not confirmed and depends on the selectors,” said PCB director Intikhab Alam.

With the central contracts for the year yet to be handed out, Alam said that the delay is due to the fitness tests as the PCB wants to confirm things before giving out the new list.

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