Blackcaps v Pakistan: Coach Misbah-ul-Haq says the team is underprepared after training ban

Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq has criticised the strict COVID-19 regulations his team must follow in managed isolation before their series against the Blackcaps. 

Eight members of the 54-strong Pakistan squad have tested positive for coronavirus since their arrival late last month, prompting Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield to revoke the tourists' training exemption.

In recent months, New Zealand's border restrictions have eased to allow touring sports teams the ability to train during the latter stages of their two-week quarantine periods, as long as athletes and staff pass regular coronavirus testing along the way.

Pakistan arrived two weeks ago to prepare for their upcoming Twenty20 and test series against the Blackcaps, but almost immediately fell foul of the protocols.

Within three days, CCTV footage revealed players mingling without masks in the hallways of their isolation facility.

Misbah says not being allowed to train is having an impact on his squad, who have opted to forego a warm-up against NZ A and will take part in an inter-squad match instead.

"Top professional athletes require a certain environment to prepare so that they can perform at the minimum expected levels," says Misbah.

"While we completely respect and understand the New Zealand Government laws, there is no denying the fact that the implementation of certain regulations has affected our athletes, both mentally and physically."

Pakistan T20 captain Babar Azam.
Pakistan T20 captain Babar Azam. Photo credit: Getty

The Twenty20 series begins in Auckland on December 18, while the first test begins on Boxing Day. 

And after watching the Blackcaps storm to an innings victory over the West Indies in less than four days, Misbah is concerned for his side. 

"When we will leave the isolation facility in the next day or two, we will try to put all this behind us and focus on the challenge of facing New Zealand in both the formats," he says. 

"For the T20Is, we have retained the squad that has been playing together for some time.

"The squad comprises young, talented and high-performing players, who are determined and eager to make names for themselves, and further cement their places in the side."

Pakistan T20 squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz

Pakistan test squad: Rohail Nazir (captain), Abid Ali, Amad Butt, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Malik

Join us on December 11 for live updates of the second Blackcaps v West Indies cricket test