Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez (above) and Wahab Riaz have been asked to give a second negative report to go to England. Reuters
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday confirmed 20 players and 11 player support personnel will travel on a chartered flight to Manchester on Sunday morning for a three-Test and three T20I series to be played in August and September.
Upon arrival in Manchester, the squad will be transported to Worcestershire where they will undergo the England and Wales Cricket Board testing before completing their 14-day isolation period, during which they will be allowed to train and practice. The side will move to Derbyshire on July 13.
Commenting on the situation, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “This was a challenging and unprecedented process that we have conducted and I am pleased that following a second round of testing, we are able to confirm 20 players and 11 player support personnel will travel to Manchester on Sunday.
“Due to the increasing number of national cases and availability of testing labs in some players’ hometowns, I think the PCB medical panel have done a good job to get us through this process. Based on the national spread of players, there were always going to be some logistical challenges; we have taken a number of learnings from the process that we will take forward with us. With the Test series being played first in August, Misbah is satisfied with the group of players that are traveling on Sunday as the focus will be on red-ball preparation. Misbah understands that flexibility and adaptability will be needed with his training and practice schedule while operating under various guidelines.”
Khan said that those players who haven’t travelled will be taken full care of by the PCB.
“I want to reassure the players and the official left behind that the PCB will provide them best support and look after them during the quarantine period. It needs to be remembered that these players were asymptomatic, which means their chances of regaining complete fitness are higher and brighter than most. As soon as these players test negative twice through the PCB testing process they will be flown to England to join the squad. I am aware Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz took personal tests outside of our process prior to the second PCB testing. While their results came up negative, as per the PCB testing programme, they are deemed to have one negative test following a positive test.”
“Therefore, once they are retested and receive a second negative result under the PCB testing programme, they will be available to join the squad in England. Lastly, on behalf of the PCB, I want to once again urge the Pakistan cricket fans and followers to support the government in their fight against coronavirus by strictly its instructions. Only through taking personal responsibility can we begin to eradicate this virus.”
Pakistan’s cricket team will leave for its tour of England 10 players, who tested positive for coronavirus at least once this week, the country’s cricket board said on Saturday.
The board chief executive Khan said the players left behind can rejoin the squad of 18 players once they have taken two negative tests.
Meanwhile, Pakistan fast bowler Musa Khan and under-19 captain Rohail Nazir will be among the 20 cricketers flying to England on Sunday for a tour whose dates are still to be confirmed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Khan and Nazir were added to the squad after 10 players were forced to miss the flight following positive tests for COVID-19.
The England and Wales cricket Board confirmed the tour on Friday, saying only that the three tests and three Twenty20s will be without spectators. The tour was originally to begin on July 30, but the pandemic delayed all tours, and England’s three-test series against the West Indies next month isn’t scheduled to end until July 28. Pakistan’s itinerary “will be announced in due course,” the ECB said.
Pakistan had some good news on Saturday when its test captain Azhar Ali and limited-overs skipper Babar Azam were among players with negative results from a second round of testing. Khan and Nazir were among five reserve players and both tested negative.
SQUAD: Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Rohail Nazir, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari and Yasir Shah