LAHORE - Director National Cricket Academy Mudassar Nazar Thursday said that the ongoing high performance cricket camp would help in identifying new talented players to fill the void in the national team after the retirement of former Pakistan captains, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.

"Whenever such an activity (camp) has been organised it served the Pakistan cricket in a big way as few talented players were discovered to serve the national team," he told the media here.

Musaddar recalled that in 2003 and 2009 long duration high performance camps were organised and on both occasions it helped in getting quality cricketers to be a part of the national team. "It is not easy to find the replacements of Misbah and Younis as they served the game with pride creating records for the homeland," he said.

To a question, he said sometimes it is easy to get the replacements of iconic cricketers and sometimes it takes years to find the player of their class. "It is my personal experience based on my involvement in the previous camps (2003 and 2009) that we have been able to find very good players who served the national cricket for quite a period," he said. He said it is not fair thought to conclude that after success in the Champions trophy the team is fully balanced in all aspects. "Based on one title win in a major tournament we cannot sit back and relax ,still there is a lot of work to be done on the national side with passage of time and its participation in future events, team building is continuous process and so is the replacement of players in case of their failure," said the NCA director.

Mudassar said the high performance will also help in improving the standards of the domestic cricket as when the participants of the camp will feature in the national tournaments they will be far ahead in all physical fitness and technique and the other players will be learning from them to improve the level of their game and fitness.

To a question he said efforts are being made to strengthen the pace battery of the national team by giving special attention to the pace bowlers. "We have few youngsters in our national junior squads (U16 and U17) who are really quick but we have to wait for while to see them at their peak," he added.

"During the tour of our A team we discover one or two high quality cricketers and that is success of that team," he said and added: “There is dire need to pay attention on our junior teams to groom the talent as it takes a lot of time and effort to find such cricketers who can serve the game for quite a long time."

Mushtaq FOR enhancING

players’ mental toughness

National Cricket Academy (NCA) head coach Mushtaq Ahmad Thursday said that greater emphasis was being laid to enhance players’ fitness and mental toughness in the high performance camp here at the NCA.

"It is a very important venture (camp) as the coaches are working on different aspects of the game even basics of the game which will never change besides focusing on improving players fitness and mental toughness which help them in becoming great cricketers at international level," Mushtaq told media here while giving his input on the first two-week training of the 10 week-long camp.

The former Test cricketer said the prime objective was to increase the effort level of the players so that they should perform in pressure situations at international level while pushing themselves for achieving set targets. "If a player has the capacity to run for five kilometers, we are motivating him through various physical drills to take his effort level to seven kilometers and definitely this capacity building will be an added advantage for him in his international cricket career," he said.

"Players are working in the gym as well as they are running on road and in the Punjab stadium to get the experience of running at different fields, both soft and solid. By that way they will be adjusting themselves at different natures of the grounds while playing cricket as Australian, England and other cricket playing countries grounds which are quite different in comparison with each other being soft or solid,” the NCA head coach said.

Mushtaq said the long-duration camp is designed to sharpen in the skills and bettering techniques of the players to a required level of the competitive cricket. "We want to remove the inner fear factor of the players while they play cricket to showcase their talent to the maximum level, getting rid of the feelings that are not capable of achieving set targets," he asserted.

He praised the interest and keenness of the camp trainees and said they (players) themselves are of the view that after initial training there is visible improvement in their physical fitness and mental toughness.

"Modern-day cricket requires a lot from a player, the best of his abilities, his top fitness and they are the components which will lead them to excellence in their cricket careers. The NCA is up to this task to encourage the players to learn basic and finer points of the game to serve the game in a better way and to become useful part of the national squads in due course of time,” Mushtaq concluded.