Some of the top Pakistani cricketers, including T20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed and key batsman Umar Akmal, have failed to meet the required fitness standards set by trainer Grant Luden. Other players who failed to attain the required points in the different fitness tests include Sohaib Maqsood, spinners Saeed Ajmal and Zulfiqar Babar and some others. Interestingly, the two fittest players are said to be Test captain, 41-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq, and 38-year-old Younis Khan.
"The fitness trainer of the Pakistan team, Grant Luden, and his team have devised a points system for the fitness
tests, with the benchmark set at 17 for players to confirm their fitness is of required level," one PCB official said. "Unfortunately, some players could not reach the benchmark."
He explained the tests are being held as contracted players are given goals to achieve within three months. Those who fail to achieve the goals are fined, while those who achieve or surpass them are rewarded financially.
Interestingly, the four-day fitness tests, which began last Sunday at the National Cricket Academy, have been hit by reports in the media that some players were unhappy over the alleged double standards employed by Luden and his team. Some players reportedly have complained to the board that Luden and his team were soft with some players, notably ODI captain Azhar Ali and pacer Wahab Riaz while taking the tests and put others through harsh tests in adverse weather conditions.
But the official said since the allegations were baseless since players were taking tests in groups. The Board has also employed a sports psychologist and nutritionist, Asad Rizvi, to hold counseling sessions with the players and these will also continue in the month-long boot camp in Abbotabad this week.
Senior players Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez, along with Haris Sohail and Emmad Wasim, have not appeared in the tests since they are carrying niggling injuries. But Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq joined in on Tuesday after returning from performing Umra, and he and senior batsman, Younis Khan are said to be the two fittest players in the program despite their age. Younis is said to have topped with 18 points at the age of 38 while Misbah turns 42 this month.