LAHORE: Coach Misbahul Haq has said he believes touring England last year under coronavirus lockdown restrictions helped turn his squad into “a family”.
Pakistan followed the West Indies in agreeing to tour England at the height of the pandemic as international cricket returned from its Covid-19 enforced suspension.
Both touring sides found themselves in a bio-secure regime that restricted them to living and training on site at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.
And while conditions have eased now that Pakistan are back in England for three one-day internationals and three T20s starting at Durham on Tuesday, Misbah has fond memories of last year’s tour.
“As a head coach I would prefer to be in lockdown,” he told reporters.
“To stay together like that helps the team. Get connected, do whatever you do, in the game room, or the team room, together, practising together, having food together, that was amazing.
“One thing obviously was that we were cut off from the outside, from families and everyone else. But that time, the whole team became a family and that actually helped us,” added the former Pakistan batsman and captain.
Unlike last year, where Pakistan’s matches were played behind closed doors, their upcoming fixtures are set to take place in front of spectators, with the aim of 50 percent capacity as part of the UK Government’s events research programme.
“Overall, when there are spectators and atmosphere in the ground it is better. From the mental side, I think players will be a bit more relaxed,” he said.
“I can feel that the situation is a bit more normal than last time. The grounds were totally empty then, we couldn’t go outside our hotels, just into the ground and hotel rooms. In that regard, this time will be better.”