ENG v PAK 2020: Players should inspire each other in absence of spectators, says Mushtaq Ahmed

He feels the mental strength of players will matter a lot than skill in COVID-19 era.

Players are trying to adjust to the new playing COVID-19 conditions | AFP

Pakistan spin bowling coach and mentor Mushtaq Ahmed believes that the players will have to inspire and support each other in the absence of spectators when they return to action at a bio-secure environment in a bilateral series against England.

Pakistan is scheduled to play three T20Is and as many as Tests in England starting on July 30 with all the matches will be held at the empty stadiums – which is one of the many safety protocols put in place by the ICC for the cricket’s resumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ahmed told the Pakistan Cricket Board website; “This tour is being played in extraordinary circumstances. There are no spectators, there are hardly any journalists either to analyze the teams or the game. Players need to inspire each other, back each other, and support each other to the hilt.”

He further added, “I am happy with the start we have made; we are getting accustomed to the environment and conditions and still have a long time to go before the start of the series.”

The mentor also feels the mental strength of players will matter a lot than skill when they return to action amid COVID-19 pandemic. He added, “I think we are going to learn a lot from the West Indies and England series and in the Covid-19 conditions. More than the skills, the mental strength of the players will matter a lot. In these difficult circumstances, the role of mentors have become very important.”

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Meanwhile, the former Pakistan spinner has also insisted that the players and coaches are slowly getting used to the new ICC COVID-19 rules, including how to shine the ball without using saliva.

He further added, “Despite the COVID-19 related challenges, the players have been exceptional so far. We are trying to make them familiar with the protocols and they have responded wonderfully well. Players are coping with the new regulations with regards to shining the ball as well.”

Mushtaq signed off by saying, “Historically, spinners have used saliva to shine the ball now they are being taught new methods in lieu of the revised ICC rules and regulations. I am confident we have the players that can not only compete but also win the series.”

(With PTI Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 10 Jul, 2020

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