Pakistan players celebrate a wicket. © ICC

In an attempt to help the national team players stay focused during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have organised online sessions with the legendary Wasim Akram and young batter Babar Azam. The interactive sessions will be held via video-conference calls in which current internationals and emerging players will be provided insights about how to strategise and approach the game in different conditions.

Akram, who is the highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in Tests and an ICC Hall of Famer, will share his experiences and provide an overview of learnings over the course of his extraordinary 18-year-long international career on Monday (May 4). The cricketer-turned-commentator had delivered a similar session to Pakistan men’s and a selection of emerging team players last week.

The session with Azam – whose stratospheric rise has seen him at the top of the T20I rankings, no.3 in ODIs and no.5 in Tests – will be attended by batters where the skipper of the men’s T20I team will shed light on the art of batting by sharing how he gears up for different conditions and situations.

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“I have grown up watching videos of Wasim Akram and how he brought laurels for Pakistan with both bat and ball from some adverse of situations,” an elated Aliya Riaz said sharing her excitement about the opportunity to learn from Akram. “It is a great opportunity for me and I am eager to learn from the greats of the game and understand his work ethic, which made him stand apart from the rest.”

Looking forward to the session with Azam, Omaima Sohail said: “Babar Azam is a top batsman and a session with him will help all the batters to understand what makes him different than the others and reflect on how we can continue to improve ourselves. I will be looking to hear from Babar how he establishes his innings and navigates during the tough phases. I am sure this session will prove to be helpful.”

Urooj Mumtaz, the chair of the national women’s selection committee, said: “It is extremely important that the players continue to develop during this phase when cricket is on hold and these sessions are certainly going to be beneficial in that aspect.

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“We keep looking for ideas to keep the players engaged and motivated. Fitness plans have been provided to both the senior and junior group of players and they have been working at home to ensure they are ready once the situation normalises.”

“Sessions with Wasim Akram and Babar Azam will provide the players an opportunity to listen and learn from the best, helping them in improving their game. Pakistan has produced some of the most extraordinary cricketers in the history of the game and we will continue to bring them on board for the benefit of our players,” she concluded.