Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq says touring England last year in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic helped turn his squad into family. After West Indies, Pakistan too toured England last year but were consigned to their bio-secure bubble, which meant they could only stay, train and play in the premises of the Hampshire Bowl and Old Trafford. Pakistan are currently in England to play three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and as many T20 Internationals (T20I), starting July 8 in Cardiff.
"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, the spectators will be allowed to watch the match from the stands, in a limited capacity, which is something Misbah believes will make him feel normal. "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."