The military training camp organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to improve the players' fitness levels finishes today with the team in a great shape for the forthcoming season, according to Major Mohammad Arif, the camp instructor. The 20-member squad attended the camp in Abbottabad for 15 days to prepare for a season that starts off next month and includes Test series against South Africa, India, Australia as well as the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship.
"The players were initially frightened about the concept but once they started enjoying exercises they did extra work," said Arif. According to him, the camp would leave them ready to face Australia. "Sports mean fitness and if the players continue to train in army ways, I am sure they can compete with Australia in fitness."
While Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's dashing allrounder and now a senior member of the team, was described as the fittest of the lot, Shoaib Akhtar was told to lose weight and to "his stamina and flexibility." Akhtar himself was convinced the experience at the camp would benefit him immensely in the future. "We trained the best way and I am sure these exercises will help me in the long run."
Lectures on how to prevent frequent injuries were also delivered to go with the physical training and Shoaib Malik, Pakistan captain, was in no doubt that the players had not only enjoyed the camp but had gained a lot from the experience. "It was wonderful and there were no distractions for the players as in the camps held previously. We had a wonderful time and hope such camps are held regularly."
Pakistan leave for a short tour of Scotland next week where they will take on the hosts on July 1 before pitting up against India on July 3.