The Pakistan Cricket Board have fined Shahid Afridi and two others for failing to keep fit, according to the Indian Express.
Earlier this summer, the PCB had warned that strict new penalties would apply for players who did not maintain fitness, and they have been swift to take action.
Afridi, as well as two spinners, Abdul Rehman and Reza Hasan, have all been penalised a quarter of their monthly central contract wages.
The number of players who failed to pass fitness tests is certainly alarmingly high for the PCB, with a total of eleven failures, including Zulfiqar Babar, Sohaib Masgood, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Nasir Jamshed.
Former fast bowler Mohammad Akram has imposed new rules since joining up with the side three months ago, and identified lack of fitness as one of the Men in Greens’ key problems, particularly with regards to their poor fielding.
Some 28 players were invited to the tests, held in Lahore in early September. Akram has also given them nutrition plans to keep them at an ideal weight.
In the past, they have often struggled to maintain fitness levels in the off-season, hence the attempts to professionalize the coaching set-up at their base in Lahore.
However, while Pakistan Cricket have come good on their promise to punish the unfit, they are being equally generous to those who have improved upon their fitness standards.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq was among those to be given either a pay rise or an incentive payment, along with Shaan Masood, Umar Amin, and Ahmed Shehzad.
Masood and Amin have earned the biggest rewards, both receiving a 17.5 percent increase in their salaries for the next four months.
The fact that Afridi is among those who have been disciplined is also problematic because he was believed to be the main name in the frame for Pakistan’s ODI captaincy, as the PCB look to replace ul-Haq.
Just last week, Afridi confirmed his interest in the role, but this will be a blow to his chances, particularly if Pakistan Cricket doubt his ability to set an example to the rest of the team.
He was previously captain of both the T20 and ODI sides, but was stripped of the armband after falling out with the PCB. He has now been re-appointed for the T20 role.
Nonetheless, he led Pakistan into the last World Cup, and could therefore provide the necessary experience going into next year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
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