Developing healthy dietary and training habits are among the key areas of focus for former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, as he takes charge of a 17-day training camp that begins in Lahore on Thursday, 22 August.
Misbah, who captained Pakistan into his early forties, knows a thing or two about staying fit. He now wants to pass on his experiences to the next generation of players, with an emphasis on long-term habit formation and healthy routines.
“My aim is to get the players to inculcate habits on a routine basis, as part of their lifestyle, to minimise chances of fitness issues in the future,” Misbah said on the eve of the camp.
“During this camp, we will focus not only on [physical] training, but also sleeping habits, dietary habits, calorie intake, body-weight level, and maintaining fat level. I will try to focus on those aspects and work towards an ideal level of fitness for a sportsperson.
“You can’t compromise on discipline as a player, and that is my target for the next few days. The players have to follow the goals and parameters set for themselves. Once you fall into a habit, you don’t even have to think about it – it becomes a part of your life. That is my approach and that is what I will try to inculcate in the players.”
In recent times, Pakistan have shown visible improvement in overall fitness standards, as reflected in their fielding these days. Players such as Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq are regarded as high-quality fielders. Misbah acknowledged the improvements, but said deficiencies remained.
“There’s scope for improvement in our team. We want to get up to the mark with internationally-required fitness standards. There has been noticeable improvement in our standards of late. That improvement can be seen during the fitness sessions, but there are some deficiencies and we’re trying to get the boys ready for the upcoming season with suitable fitness standards.”
Misbah’s training camp stint is a stopgap arrangement, as the Pakistan Cricket Board hunts for a new head coach after opting against renewing Mickey Arthur’s contract, following the team’s sub-par performance in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. Misbah clarified that he isn’t in the running for the full-time position at the moment.
“I haven’t applied for a coaching role, and any media reports to the contrary are rumours,” he said. “I’ve taken level two coaching training from here and from the ECB, but there’s nothing final as to whether I’m actually applying for the role.”