Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq stated they will keep a close eye on the three-match series between England and West Indies, which takes place before Pakistan’s tour of the country. England’s red-ball series against Windies will start from July 8 and it will mark the return of cricket after the sport was suspended in March due to coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Younis Khan's Appointment Shows Misbah-ul-Haq is Not a Good Enough Batting Coach: Aamer Sohail
Misbah said everyone in Pakistan will keep a close eye on the series because they are the one’s who will be traveling to England next after West Indies. Also Read - Pakistan Cricketers Mohammad Amir, Haris Sohail Unavailable For England Tour Due to Personal Reasons
“I think the PCB agreed for the tour after ECB convinced them they will take care of the players’ safety. Obviously we are satisfied with that and hopefully everything will go safely and as per the plans,” Misbah told reporters via videoconference. Also Read - PCB Appoints Younis Khan as Batting Coach For England Tour, Mushtaq Ahmed Named Spin Coach
“We will keep a close eye on how West Indies tour pans out. From fans to players, everyone will be keeping a close eye and I hope it goes well.”
Pakistan are currently scheduled to play three Tests and as many T20Is on the tour starting August 1 and Misbah stated they are confident of doing well in the series considering their track record.
“We are optimistic and confident that we will do well (on the tour) despite being away from cricket since March. The guys are eager to come back on the cricket field,” Misbah said.
“England has always been a good place for Pakistan as far as cricket is concerned. We have got some really good memories of playing cricket there.
“We won the Champions Trophy in 2017 and even the 1-1 draw in 2018 was very encouraging for Pakistan cricket. Even in the World Cup (2019), we missed out by just a small margin (reaching knockouts) but overall we did well.”
He did concede that things will be different this time because of the pandemic but the former Pakistan captain expressed his satisfaction over the safety measures put forward by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
“This challenge this time will be different due to COVID-19. Things will be slightly more difficult for everyone. But sometimes in life you have to adjust to situations and professionals do so quickly,” Misbah said.
“We are confident in the SOPs put together by the ECB. Feel sad for the fans they won’t be able to watch the games from the venue. It will be different for the players as well but at least cricket is restarting.
“Fans are always the biggest stakeholders of the game. Everything on the field is because of them.
“We will be arriving in England in the first week of July and try to hit the ground running to make up for the lost time. The ECB and PCB are making the travel arrangements and we hope to hear about it soon.”
(With agency inputs)