Pakistan confident of England tour despite 10 players contracting virus

Written by Vipin Darwade

Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan on Tuesday said Pakistan’s tour of England is ‘very much on track’ despite 10 of the senior national team players testing positive for Covid-19. He added that the players who tested positive did not show any symptoms in the lead up to the tests.

Pakistan named a 29-member squad for the England tour wherein they are scheduled to play 3 Tests and a T20I series in August and were scheduled to depart from Lahore on Sunday.

Initially three players Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan were revealed to have tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. In the second batch of results that were published on Tuesday, further seven names Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz were found to be tested positive for Covid-19. In addition, one member of support staff, the team masseur Malang Ali, has also tested positive.

Pakistan are confident of going ahead with the England tour which is set to be played in a bio-secure environment after the West Indies complete their tour of Old Blighty. PCB CEO Wasim Khan said head coach Misbah-ul-Haq is reviewing plans for training in the UK and some more reserve players are set to be tested for back-up.

“The tour to England is very much on track and the side will depart as per schedule on 28 June. Fortunately, all the first-choice red-ball squad, barring Mohammad Rizwan, are negative, which means they can start training and practicing immediately after they have been tested and given the all-clear when they arrive in England,” Wasim Khan said.

“In the meantime, Misbah-ul-Haq is reviewing the training schedule in England and is firming up plans for reserve players to be tested as a backup.”

‘As soon as they test negative they will be able to join the squad in England’

Pakistan is planning to test the players who tested negative for Covid-19 from the 29-member squad once again in bio-secure environment in Lahore on June 25. Players who test negative are set to fly to England in a chartered plane.

Players who have already tested positive and the ones who may test positive in the next round of testing on Thursday will remain in isolation at their residences and will be strictly monitored by PCB’s medical pandel. They will be allowed to join the touring party on a later date after they finish their minimum quarantine period and subsequently return two negative tests.

“As regards the players, who have tested positive, we will continue to monitor and support them, including conducting antibody tests, and as soon as they test negative, they will be flown to join the squad in England. At the moment, they have been advised to go into self-isolation so that they not only recover quickly but also prevent their other family members from being infected,” Wasim Khan said.

Here’s how the PCB plans to go ahead with the England tour in the wake of positive Covid-19 test results

  • The players and player support personnel, who have tested negative, will assemble in a bio-secure environment in Lahore on 24 June and will undergo second round of testing on 25 June
  • The players and player support personnel, who will test negative on 25 June, will depart for Manchester on a chartered flight. Within 24 after hours after arriving in the UK, they will be tested by the ECB medical panel
  • The players and player support personnel, who will test negative upon arrival in the UK, will observe a quarantine period as per the UK government’s regulations, but will be allowed to train and practice in a bio-secure facility
  • The players and player support personnel, who have tested positive in pre-departure testing, will observe self-isolation in their homes and remain under strict monitoring of the PCB medical panel
  • As soon as they will complete their minimum quarantine period, they will undergo further testing and after their two tests are negative, they will be flown to England on a commercial airline
  • Upon arrival in the UK, they will be tested again by the ECB medical panel and will be allowed to integrate with the Pakistan men’s national squad after they test negative
  • According to series SOPs, the Pakistan men’s national cricket team will undergo, at least, five tests in the lead up to the first test

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Vipin Darwade