Hafeez’s negative report casts doubts over PCB’s virus testing - GulfToday

Hafeez’s negative report casts doubts over PCB’s virus testing


Mohammed Hafeez gestures towards the dugout during a match. File

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez said on Wednesday that a second test he commissioned himself proved he didn't have coronavirus, a day after the country's cricket board said he was one of seven players who had officially tested positive.

The Pakistan cricket Board (PCB) said Hafeez was one of ten players and tour staff who tested positive for the virus this week ahead of the squad's departure for a series of matches in Britain.

Hafeez, described by officials as asymptomatic -- like the rest of those who tested positive -- said he had immediately arranged a private second opinion.

"I personally went to Test it again along with my family and here I along with my all family members are reported Negative," he tweeted.

Pakistan's fragile health system is struggling to cope with the coronavirus epidemic and doubt has been cast on the country's ability to properly conduct mass testing.

It has confirmed nearly 190,340 cases so far, with the death toll approaching 3,792.

Besides Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Kashif Bhatti were diagnosed on Tuesday as having the virus pathogens.

Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali, and a team massage therapist, tested positive on Monday.

Board officials have said all touring players and support personnel who already passed as fit would be tested again on Thursday.

The entire squad will be also be tested again when they arrive in Britain on Sunday.

Despite the cases, both the PCB and the England and Wales cricket Board insist next month's tour will go ahead.

Pakistan are due to play three Tests and three Twenty20 internationals, with the first Test in Manchester starting Aug. 5.

Planning minister Asad Umar warned last week that the number of cases could double by the end of June, and peak at more than a million infections next month.

Babar is future captain: PCB

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Khan stated Babar Azam is the team's future captain across formats as he has already shown that despite being relatively younger than his contemporaries, he handles pressure really well.

Azam was named Pakistan's T20 skipper while Azhar Ali was appointed as Test captain after Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked in October last year. Azam was appointed as the ODI skipper last month.

Khan drew parallels between former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith and Azam and said both were appointed as captains very early in their respective careers.

"Look at Graeme Smith, he was 23 when he was made captain and look at his record. I think before you give someone the captaincy, you have to understand what kind of individual they are. Can they handle the pressure? Is it going to affect their game?" Khan was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.

"So far Babar has proved that the decision was right. He is our future captain across all three formats."

"But we have to develop 11 leaders which we haven't done for a very long time. In the past, we have relied on one or two players to be the leader," he added.

Azam will next be seen in action when Pakistan travel to England. The contest will be played after England's three-Test series against West Indies, starting July 8.

The fate of the tour, however, remains in balance as 10 players of the Pakistan squad recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, With Wasim saying that the Asia Cup will be held either in September or October, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made it clear that the window which suits the PCB doesn’t suit the Indian board.

Speaking to IANS, a board functionary in the know of developments said that the PCB could also look at postponing the Pakistan Super League (PSL) next season and host the multi-nation event in that window. The BCCI can then look at adjusting the calendar accordingly and playing in the Asia Cup.

"Asia Cup will be a struggle this year. Going by the statement of the Chief Executive of the PCB, the window that suits them doesn't suit India. Maybe they can postpone PSL next year if BCCI is able to open up a window during that period. Otherwise conducting the Asia Cup doesn't seem too practical as these are challenging times," the functionary said.

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) is generally played around the February-March window and even this year the tournament was in the knockout stages when it had to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. The PCB is in fact looking at the November window to complete the knockout games that remain.

Speaking to the media on the Asia Cup, Wasim said: "The Asia Cup will go ahead. The Pakistan team returns from England on 2nd September so we can have the tournament in September or October. There are some things which will only get clear in the due course of time. We are hopeful of having the Asia Cup because Sri Lanka has not had too many cases of the Coronavirus. If they can't do it, then UAE is also ready."

The BCCI has already made it clear that domestic matches and bilateral ties will be the area of focus for the Indian board when cricket resumes in the post-covid era. In fact, the players have time and again pointed that the Indian Premier League would be the best tournament to start proceedings once cricketing action resumes. The BCCI recently announced that tours of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe have been postponed due to the current situation with regards to the pandemic.

In a release, the board said: "The Indian cricket team will not travel to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe owing to the current threat of COVID-19. Team India was originally scheduled to travel to the island nation from 24th June 2020 for three ODIs and as many T20Is and to Zimbabwe for a series comprising three ODIs starting 22nd August 2020.

"As stated in the earlier press release issued on 17th May, the BCCI will conduct a camp for its contracted players only when it is completely safe to train outdoors."


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