Duration of World Test Championship should be extended: Misbah

Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has suggested extending the time span of the ICC World Test Championship with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing all cricketing activities to a halt and potentially throwing the international schedule haywire.

“I just think that all teams must get equal opportunities in the championship even if matches are rescheduled,” he said during a video conference with the media on Tuesday.

“Whenever cricket resumes all teams should get equal opportunity in the ICC World Test Championship to try to play in the final. The tournament can be extended beyond 2021,” he said.

According to the original schedule, the inaugural competition runs from 2019-2021.

Pakistan had to postpone a Test of the championship against Bangladesh at home following the coronavirus outbreak earlier this month.

Misbah also said that if teams didn’t get equal opportunity to play in the championship, results would not be fair.

The ICC has indicated that it would talk to member boards to find a solution to the matches of the championship which will be hit by the pandemic and one option which will be discussed would be awarding points for cancelled matches.

“The tournament should be extended that is my view. That is the only way we can find and end the event in a balanced way. Matches can be rescheduled if the event is extended, he said.

After the Test against Bangladesh, Pakistan’s next assignment of the ICC Championship is a Test series in England in July.

Misbah said since that series was very important, he had already asked all the players who are in isolation to keep working on their fitness and also study the strengths and weaknesses of the England team.

“I have been in touch with most of the players including centrally contracted players even trainer is in touch with them we are giving them and sending them plans according to their equipment at home to remain in shape as a team.

“I want the physical condition of players to be what is required in Test cricket whenever cricket resumes, he said.

Misbah said this was the best time for Pakistan to do its homework for the series in England and analyse their players.

Asked about Pakistani players and officials having to take pay cuts if the coronavirus pandemic continues for a long time, Misbah said when the contracts of players expire in June, the board and players will sit down and decide what to do.

“When new contracts come we will see situation and take the right decisions and players will have to understand and it will not be a one-way decision everyone is mentally ready for this situation,” he said.

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