Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq feels his players were “unlucky” to have contracted the coronavirus during their stay in Christchurch, and said that the quarantine protocols breaches were “unintentional”. Seven members of the Pakistan touring squad tested positive for coronavirus days after their arrival in New Zealand on November 24. The former Pakistan skipper admitted that the precautionary COVID guidelines were strict, and expressed disappointment in not being able to practice in the last 14 days.
“Due to COVID, rules are very strict in New Zealand and we respect that. And now we have moved out of quarantine after spending 14 days in isolation. We were not able to practice in the last 14 days,” Misbah said during a virtual press conference on Friday.
“I think we were a bit unlucky in this regard that we couldn’t practice after three days, and lost a lot of time due to coronavirus cases but now we are back on the field,” he added.
The Pakistan squad was also given a “final warning” by the New Zealand government, after some of its players had breached the quarantine protocols.
The Pakistan coach said the breaches were unintentional and called for making up for the time, that the touring party has lost due to the coronavirus cases within the camp.
“The breaches were unintentional in the first day and it happened moving luggage here and there. It was a weird situation and New Zealand clarified afterwards that Pakistan had followed protocols but never the less the main point is we couldn’t practice due to the positive results those 14 days,” Misbah said.
“Now we are out of quarantine and trying to make up for the time lost. It’s tough to do a work of three weeks in seven days but we are trying to give our best. Want to be in the best shape before December 18 in Auckland,” he added.
Pakistan is slated to play three T20Is against New Zealand of which the first game is on December 18, while the ICC World Test Championship fixtures will be held in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch on December 26-30 and January 3-7, respectively.
Pakistan squad for T20Is: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, and Wahab Riaz.
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