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Misbah Worries About Homesick Players

by AFP
Jekesai Njikizana—AFP

Jekesai Njikizana—AFP

Pakistan’s national team has not played a home series since 2009, prompting concerns of stress-related illness.

Pakistan’s nomadic cricketers need to resume home internationals to avoid the risk of stress-related illness brought about by long absences away from their families, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq says.

Foreign sides have shunned tours of Pakistan since Sri Lanka’s team bus came under attack by militants in Lahore in March 2009, forcing the Pakistanis to play all their series away from home including on neutral turf in the United Arab Emirates.

But, invoking the depression suffered by England’s Jonathan Trott, Pakistan’s Test and one-day captain said the situation was becoming untenable. “You come back from a tour and hardly get time to settle, then you are off again for a series. And since there are no home games, it’s taking its toll on the players,” said Misbah, 39. “I salute my players for showing the mental strength to overcome home sickness. Being away from their families, it’s a really tough ask,” he added.

A new generation of players such as Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad and Junaid Khan has never played international cricket at home.

Misbah said all his players were desperate to play on home grounds, and added that “this is also affecting our young and upcoming fans and players who don’t get to see international matches.”

“How can they learn without watching matches on home grounds?” said Misbah, who appealed for sympathy from all concerned. “I have said this before and I reiterate that the International Cricket Council and fellow cricketing countries should try and find out a way. Pakistan Cricket Board and our government are giving full assurances, so there should be a lenient view of our country because a whole generation is going to suffer because of no cricket in Pakistan.”

Last year, Bangladesh twice initially agreed to tour Pakistan but later backed out on security fears.

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