The PCB has said Multan was the most feasible venue given the need to create a bio-secure environment
Over the next 30 days, Multan is expected to experience temperatures hovering well over 40 degrees, with a predicted high of 44 degrees. A 26-member Pakistan Women contingent will train in these extreme conditions from May 29 to June 22, as part of the team’s preparations for the 50-over Women’s World Cup Qualifier that is scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka in December.
While acknowledging the severity of the conditions, the PCB has said it had few other options but to train in Multan, given numerous challenges including the need to prepare a bio-secure bubble in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Historically during the summer months, the PCB has mostly held its camps in the city of Abbottabad, which is located in the hilly Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and experiences relatively milder weather than the lower-altitude regions of the country where temperatures often rise above 45 degrees and occasionally touch 50 degrees. But the venue isn’t seen as being feasible for the creation of a bio-secure bubble.
“Each venue had its own challenges around the pandemic,” Mumtaz told ESPNcricinfo. “Multan was the only feasible facility available as a package. It has the ground, gym, and accommodation within one block, and it’s easy to maintain the bio-secure bubble there.
“But we are conscious and mindful of the extreme weather conditions, and that is why we have scheduled the training sessions to avoid the hottest part of the day. We are starting early in the morning and ending by midday, giving them ample rest in the day, and we’ll start again in the evening.”
After the camp concludes, Pakistan Women could return to action after a five-month gap. ESPNcricinfo understands that the PCB and SLC are in talks for a potential series in Sri Lanka in July.
Before that, Pakistan Women had toured South Africa, where they lost the ODI series 3-0, and won the third and final T20I to deny the hosts another series sweep.
Since the aborted Zimbabwe tour, Pakistan Women haven’t played any international cricket, but a group of 26 players underwent a skills and fitness camp in Karachi, similar to the one that is being organised in Multan.
“We need to understand these challenges especially given the situation with Covid, which changes dramatically every other day. But the board is determined to continue to invest in the women’s game and we make sure our girls remain connected to the game so that they don’t get rusty,” Mumtaz said. “Women’s calendar hasn’t been as busy as the men’s has been so far, so it’s important to keep the girls engaged with the elite panel of coaching staff.”
The Multan camp, according to the PCB, will be held in a bio-secure environment, with the players and support staff undergoing pre-arrival Covid-19 tests on Thursday. All those who tested negative are meant to assemble at the National High-Performance Centre in Lahore today and will travel to Multan by road. The players and support staff will be tested upon arrival in Multan and will subsequently go into isolation. Those who test negative will commence training in groups from May 31. The groups will be allowed to train together as units subject to testing negative for a third time on June 4.
Players called up for Multan camp: Aliya Riaz, Aiman Anwer, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Javeria Rauf, Kainat Imtiaz, Kaynat Hafeez, Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Najiha Alvi, Nashra Sandhu, Natalia Pervaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Rameen Shamim, Saba Nazir, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz, Syeda Aroob Shah.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent
SL vs IND, 2nd T20I, 2021
He trusted his lower-order team-mates to play big shots if he took the game deep
Not known for his hitting capability, the match situation was perhaps made for de Silva, who struck only two boundaries – a six and a four – and focused instead on running singles and twos. With a severely depleted India making only 132, Sri Lanka did not require huge fireworks with the bat to chase it down.
“This is what I’m meant to do for the team,” de Silva said after the match. “In the previous match as well, what I’d been told was to bat 20 overs from one side. I wasn’t able to do that in the previous game. Today was my day and I did that. If I can bat at a run-a-ball until the final overs, letting others attack around me, I can raise my strike rate towards the finish as well. That was the coach, captain and selectors’ plan.”
de Silva said the surface for this match was the slowest of the tour. It took a significant turn right through the game, with spinners picking up seven of the 11 wickets to fall. Only three sixes were struck in the entire match.
“We knew it was a slow pitch, so our target while bowling was to restrict them to 125 or 130,” he said. “Our bowlers did well and we were able to manage that. When it came to our innings, we knew that it would be tough to bat as well, but if we dragged the game out to the 20th over, the equation becomes simple and we know what we have to do. I think even a T20 match, that’s the way to do it.”
“We know that in the last four or five batters we have a few that can hit a six. Chamika, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana and even Dushmantha Chameera can hit a big shot. What I’d wanted to do was to take the game deep, thinking that Wanindu or Chamika would be there with me to finish it off. Thankfully, Chamika was there at the end.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
The Hundred – Jofra Archer not expected to link up with Southern Brave this week
Team hopeful of having the pacer for the last four games as he continues a gradual comeback from elbow surgery
Archer has played twice for Sussex in the last 10 days, first bowling three overs in their Vitality Blast win against Kent and a further six against Oxfordshire in a 50-over warm-up match last Tuesday, but has not linked up with the Southern Brave squad since the start of the Hundred and is not expected to do so this week.
“It’s one of those where I’m staying out of it and leaving it to the experts in that area. Hopefully we do get him because it would be a big boost for us, but if we don’t, we’ve got guys who are capable here.”
An ECB spokesperson said that a further update on Archer’s fitness was expected next week but did not confirm whether he had been given a pain-killing injection in the last two days. Archer underwent elbow surgery in May following an aborted comeback from the injury at the start of the English summer.
The Brave were the pre-tournament favourites for the men’s competition but have lost both of their first two games and are already in danger of missing out on the knockout stages, with only the top three teams progressing. Mahela Jayawardene, their head coach, has regularly recovered from sluggish starts while coaching Mumbai Indians in the IPL, and Vince suggested that his recent experience with Hampshire – who squeezed into the Blast’s quarter-finals in the final round of group games – meant he was not panicking yet.
“I’m sure we’ll realise that we need to start winning soon but I’ve just been part of a Hampshire side in the Blast that got off to a bit of a slow start and then managed to play some great cricket towards the back end and get some momentum going,” he said. “I think this format will be very similar.
“We’re aware we need to improve in a few areas but we were much better [on Tuesday] and had our chance to win the game. The next three or four games coming up will be important to make sure we’re there or thereabouts come the last few.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
Recent Match Report – Somerset vs Glamorgan Group 1 2021
Michael Hogan’s four-for not enough as Glamorgan let several winning positions slip
Somerset 180 for 7 (Green 87, Hogan 4-33) beat Glamorgan 179 for 9 by one run
Andy Gorvin needed a six off the last ball of the game from left-arm spinner Goldsworthy to win the game for Glamorgan and came close with a powerful four over the bowler’s head.
Play did not start until 12.10pm, with the game initially reduced to 42 overs per side. Somerset’s innings had only occupied 2.4 of them, with five runs scored, when rain forced the players off.
That was enough time for Hogan to strike twice, Sam Young caught behind off the fourth ball of the innings and Steven Davies brilliantly snapped up by Gorvin at midwicket from the first delivery of the third over.
On the resumption, the veteran pace bowler took his figures to 3 for 3 by bowling George Bartlett between bat and pad and then had James Hildreth caught at first slip.
Somerset were in disarray at 49 for 5 when Eddie Byrom feathered a ball from offspinner Steven Reingold through to wicketkeeper Cullen.
But Green and Goldsworthy calmly steadied the ship and had taken the total to 84 for 5 in the 26th over when heavier rain brought another stoppage at 2.10pm.
Half an hour later, with a further reduction in overs, Green and Goldsworthy batted with far more intent. Green was the main aggressor, with Goldsworthy notching just one boundary in his valuable innings before slogging a catch to cow corner off Callum Taylor.
Green, cut loose in the closing overs with some majestic shots until playing a ball from Lukas Carey onto his stumps in the final over.
Glamorgan’s reply began badly when Hamish Rutherford fell lbw to the final ball of Jack Brooks’ opening over.
Eighteen-year-old Baker then got a ball to lift at Nick Selman’s ribs, forcing the opener to loop up a catch to the diving Byrom, running in from square leg.
Aldridge produced a similar quick delivery, his first of the game, to have Kiran Carlson caught by wicketkeeper Davies for 21. And when Green also struck with his opening delivery, bowling Reingold for 16, Glamorgan were 52 for 4.
Cullen and Root then put together a well-paced stand of 76 to put their team in sight of victory. It ended when Cullen was caught behind down the leg side off Aldridge, who followed up by having Joe Cooke taken by wicketkeeper Davies.
Root fell to George Drissell, the former Gloucestershire offspinner making his Somerset debut, top-edging a slog-sweep with 38 still needed.
Carey did his best with two boundaries, but other wickets fell cheaply and 10 off the final over for the last pair proved too much.
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