KARACHI: Left-handed opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq has said the centrally-contracted players will respect the Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision of slashing the players’ salaries should it decide to do so in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. He was speaking to the media here on Wednesday.
“I am sure everyone including the PCB is helping many people at the moment. But it is not a decision that I will take alone. There are other centrally-contracted players as well. And whatever the PCB decides with regards to pay cuts, we’ll respect it,” he said.
When asked if he was open to the idea of playing cricket behind closed doors, Imam said safety of players and fans is of paramount importance. “Even if the teams are asked to play behind closed doors, they will be travelling to and from the hotel. So, I think, safety measures will have to be considered.
“Our job is to play, but in my personal opinion, the idea of playing in the presence of crowds appeals more to me. But, at the end of the day, it’s the PCB’s decision and whatever it decides, we’ll accept it,” he said.
Answering a question regarding maintaining fitness during lockdown, Imam said he had sensed early on that the situation was moving towards a lockdown which is why he gathered all the necessary gym equipment at home to maintain the required fitness levels.
“I have got a treadmill at home and I am doing cardio sessions as well. I can’t train as well as I would have under a proper gym session, but, I am satisfied with how my training is going. I have hired a personal trainer with whom I train regularly via video call. Obviously, match fitness is different. When we’ll go back to the ground, I think it will take me 10-15 days before I achieve it,” Imam said.
Imam was full of praise for the idea of conducting online fitness tests because it doesn’t give the players a chance to get complacent with regards to their fitness. “Fitness test during the lockdown was different. We didn’t have all the resources available to us, but, I enjoyed it,” he mentioned.
When asked to comment on Pakistan’s opening resources, Imam said it is heartening to see a healthy competition among the openers after a long time. “I think it is a good sign for Pakistan cricket. It serves as a good reminder that if you don’t perform, the team has other options,” Imam said.
While comparing the two coaches (Mickey Arthur and Misbah-ul-Haq) he has worked with, he said: “Every coach has a different nature. Mickey was a bit hyper which is why he would get angry easily whereas, Misbah, on the other hand, is very calm and full of patience. I have enjoyed working with both of them.”
Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2020