LAHORE - As many as 39 players out of 40 reported in the national summer cricket training camp started here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday to improve the physical fitness of the players.

Talking to the reporters here at the PCB headquarters during the camp, former pacer and National Cricket Academy head coach M Akram said: “Azhar Ali has not reported the camp as he is nursing a knee injury and the doctors have advised him a month long rest.”

He said the prime objective of the month-long camp was to tune up the players, both physically and mentally, helping them to take on the upcoming national cricket assignments in a befitting manner.

“During the first two days of the camp, the screening of the players will be carried out and special emphasis will be laid on physical fitness during 18-day programme designed to help the players to achieve prime fitness. Six days have been reserved for net and fielding practice and during the last four days of the camp, a four-day match will be organized,” he said while revealing the programme of the training.

He added that the entire screening process of each player would be data-based readily available to the selection committee. “We will be conducting the screening process after every four months and thrice a year which will help in knowing the individual form and fitness of each player.”

Akram said former Test cricketers would also be visiting the camp to deliver lectures on different aspects of the game. He said after the conclusion of the camp, 24 emerging players would also be named and with a combination of 66 players, the selectors would be having ample choice while selecting national squads for various assignments. “The national side is always a combination of experience and youth and all the young players cannot be inducted in the side in one go,” he asserted.

To a query, he replied that pace bowler Juniad Khan had been given the permission to play county cricket to regain lost touch and confidence.  Akram described fast bowler Umar Gul as an asset of the team admitting the fact that the bowler had failed to raise to the occasion in his recent showing. “Every player goes through a bad patch in his career and it takes time to overcome injuries and fitness problems and talented bowlers like Umar can make a comeback at any stage,” he concluded.