It is obvious to see that things have gone from bad to worse with regards to the state of Pakistani cricket. After all, the army only steps in to fix something when it thinks there is no other fix available. The results said nothing that was not obvious, Fawad Alam and Shaan Masood were the fittest players in the squad, and out of the 30 attending the session, over a dozen were deemed completely unfit.
Sports in general and cricket in particular have moved forward into a new era of physical fitness; gone are the days when a batsman could get away with having a pot-belly or a predisposition towards eating unhealthy; one only has to look at India’s top-batsman Virat Kholi’s fitness levels to deduce that the Indian team is not surpassing us on pure talent. Hard work remains a key factor, and the rigors of competing at the highest levels can only be withstood if one’s body is up to it. Only then does the innate talent become of any use. Sportsmen across the world have doctors, fitness experts and physiotherapists looking after their every need; from ensuring that their diet is balanced to the last morsel to constructing tailor-made exercise plans for each team members according to their specific need. Fitness is not the priority here, however.
Pakistan’s cricket needs a serious overhaul, and the players that are currently unfit must shape up or ship out. Enough chances have already been given, and many in the team need to be forced out if they cannot compete at the international level. It does not take an expert to see the vast difference in physiques of our players versus those of other teams. It is already established that playing at the highest level of any sport requires enormous amounts of talent. But flair alone is nothing, and sportsmen need to continue honing their bodies to become perfect instruments, instead of the lumbering engines our players seem to be content with.