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Every player will be like Sharjeel after three months of lockdown: Latif

Former cricketer believes the long break will have an adverse effect on cricketers’ fitness

Every player will be like Sharjeel after three months of lockdown: Latif PHOTO: PSL

Former Pakistan cricketer Rashid Latif believes that lockdown in the country and suspension of cricket events around the world due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, will have an adverse effect on cricketers’ fitness during the break.

While speaking in a YouTube video, the former wicketkeeper-batsman said the fitness of Pakistan cricketers can decline down to opener Sharjeel Khan’s level if the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) does not take appropriate measures.

“Since matches are not taking place, every player will be like Sharjeel after two to three months of lockdown,” said Latif. “Those who performed in PSL, will their form be the same after four months? In cricket, if you are not able to practice for a long period of time, then everyone will be at the same place and level.”

“I think PCB medical teams, via a video link, needs to brief centrally contracted players about how to take care of their fitness during lockdown. Similarly, Misbah needs to have a session with players in order to motivate them to keep their fitness standards up during the break. PCB also needs to inform the players about possible timelines regarding resumption of cricket,” he added.

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Latif also showed concern regarding Sharjeel’s fitness and advised the opener to get leaner in order improve his chances for a comeback in the national side.

 “Sharjeel is not looking fit if you look at his physique. Anyone who makes a comeback after three years will look a little heavy. Sharjeel needs to quickly shed his weight and get fit,” he said. This is actually a plus point for Sharjeel as no one is talking about his performance, which means once he gets fit, he can fit into the team as well.”

“However, if Sharjeel comes back, then Fakhar Zaman might be written off and his career might come to an end,” he added.

Last week, Pakistan’s head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq, in a video conference with reported, said that he was not impressed with Sharjeel’s fitness in the fifth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL)

“I don’t doubt Sharjeel’s potential as an opener as he can play at a strike rate of 150. However, he needs a lot of work on his fitness, which he has time for now,” Misbah said. “He also needs to lose weight which will eventually improve his fitness. Sharjeel needs to keep in mind that his fitness needs to be at the same level as other players in the team. Once he meets the standard required for international cricket, only then he will be considered for national selection. I am confident that Sharjeel will focus on improving his fitness.”