ICC team conducts dope tests on Misbah, Azhar and Junaid

LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) medical team has taken the urine samples of both Pakistan Test and ODI captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali, along with that of medium fast bowler Junaid Khan for dope tests.  The samples were collected during the on-going training camp of Pakistan probables at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Thursday.  After the training camp is over, a final Pakistan squad is to be announced for the four-Test series against England commencing in July.  While the reports of the samples will come later, the timing of the collection of the samples is crucial for the Pakistan camp and any positive result of the dope tests, especially of the two captains, will be detrimental for Pakistan cricket’s image as well as for the national team performance against England on the tour.  Shan, Sami confident about England tour show Misbah’s test results will be of special interest since he has been getting a lot of applause from all over the cricketing circles for keeping himself super fit, even at the age of 42. If he clears the test he will definitely deserve that applause.  However, if the results prove otherwise, his distinguished career will be as good as over.  On the other hand, it seems that opener Mohammad Hafeez has finally made his mind to tour England with the national team. On Thursday, he batted in the camp for the first time and looked fit and quite sharp. Earlier, there were reports that Hafeez is somewhat reluctant to be part of the squad as he was nursing a knee injury, despite the fact that his medical reports had been encouraging.  Meanwhile, the national selection committee, which has to announce the final Pakistan team by next week, held a detailed meeting with Test captain Misbah and exchanged views over team selection.  There are reports that the selectors are considering an option to send a 17-member Pakistan team for the four Test matches series and are pondering over the inclusion of Asif Zakir, a middle-order batsman, on the tour.  Another young player Akbar-ur-Rehman is also in reckoning for the England series.  After the nets session on Thursday, Test opener Shan Masood in a media talk said that the hot weather notwithstanding, all other playing conditions which are likely to be encountered by the national team in England, have been provided in the ongoing training camp.  Shan said he would try his best to attain consistency and cement his place in the Pakistan team which has to play 11  Test matches in the next seven months against top opposition. Shan has scored 361 runs in the seven Test matches that he has played so far.  “Only consistency in performance could make a player big, like Virat Kohli, De Villiers and others,” he said. “I am trying my level best to overcome my past mistakes.”  Shan added he has played only three matches in England for his university in the past and admitted that international cricket will be different ball game altogether.  “But when you accept a challenge, you should give full commitment to perform and the entire Pakistan team have the desire to do that in England,” he said.  The other young opener in the camp, Sami Aslam also vowed to perform on the England tour if given a chance.  Sami, who had performed superbly in England in the Under-19 series a few years back, failed to grab the opportunity he received in his Test debut against Bangladesh in 2015.  However, he appeared determined about not missing his second chance and added that with the help of his coaches, he has improved his game and is feeling more confident in the camp.  “Self confidence is the key here and all of us are gaining that,” he said.

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