Misbah Ul Haq has asserted that Pakistan had seriously considered pulling out of the tour against New Zealand after their Quarantine period was extended due to positive cases in the camp. The Head coach has also admitted that the extended period of lockdown took a mental toll on the players.
With low coronavirus cases, New Zealand have no bio-secure facility in place, rather everyone is free to roam around after the quarantine is over. That has come as a boost for the Pakistani unit who have suffered an extended period in the lockdown after multiple COVID-19 cases inside the camp.
However, during the quarantine phase, where their training exemptions were revoked, they had to suffer a phase of uncertainty which even put them in a situation from where Pakistan were thinking of pulling out. Misbah Ul Haq revealed the same while crediting the team for not giving up.
"You try and analyze things and think realistically about every possible angle. You think about how many days we need to prepare, how we are going to prepare, how to lift your team. Obviously, these aren't normal circumstances; what happens here isn't ideal," Misbah said while interacting with the media for the first time in New Zealand.
“But then for the sake of international cricket you want cricket to go on, and being a big stakeholder, we will give our full effort to help cricket overall. We did discuss [about pulling out of the tour] but then finally decided to say no to this option because when you invest this much time on this, then you have got to give it a shot.
"Coping in the situation isn't easy for anyone. But if we want to keep the game alive and keep it going we have to make this sacrifice for fans sitting at home who want to watch the game and get entertained in this difficult time. We, as players and coaches, are the biggest stakeholders and we have to keep on trying to give our every effort. Let's see how long it can go like this and for how long players can sustain it. But I think as professionals we somehow have to manage yourself in the bubble or in quarantine."
Although Pakistan initially were allowed to train within small groups, a few players testing positive led to the New Zealand ministry revoking that exemption due to concerns about the risk of cross-infection within the squad. That hampered some crucial hours of practice but Misbah said they will not hold that as an excuse.
"It's not about blaming anyone. In fact it won't make any difference what I say, facts remain facts. As professionals, we are not looking for excuses because at the end of the day, no matter whatever excuse you make people consider end results. So, our thought process is to forget about the uncontrollable. Whatever happened, we can't do much about it. What we can control is catching up with every minute and every moment we couldn't get in those 14 days.
"After all it's not easy to catch up with the lost time and squeeze two weeks of work in one week but the players are responding well, getting to regain their focus back in the field. We are trying our best to work out how to get back into the zone, retain our best skills and regain our fitness levels. We are here with a mission and the main thing what we play any sports is to win and we are confident that we can do well."