Pakistan Cricket Board has sent the cricket team without the 10 players who have tested positive on Sunday. The group of 10 cricketers have tested positive again for the second time. Wasim Khan, the board chief has said that if the players recover after their quarantine period is over, they can rejoin the team for the England vs Pakistan Test series.
As of now, 20 players left for the England tour. Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain and Kashif Bhatti first tested positive. Later on, Bhatti, Ali, Rauf and Khan were still found to be positive.
After they reach, they will start preparing for the first Test with two internal four-day warm-up matches. According to the speculations, the first match will be held in Manchester in August. However, the England and Wales Cricket Board said that the tournament will be held behind the closed doors and the schedule will be announced in due course of time.
Wasim Khan said that the Pakistan Cricket Board was observing the ECB guidelines.”We were given protocols by the ECB which we have followed. Players are likely to be tested five to seven times before the first Test in England and that is to be done for their safety,” he said.
The team will be lead by Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, the T20 captain, Abid Ali, Imam-Ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Imad Wasim, and Yasir Shah.
They were accompanied by Musa Khan and Rohail Nazir. Till date, Pakistan has experienced about 2.00.000 declared positive cases and 4,000 death cases while England has relatively lowering numbers of infection.
Azhar Ali has said on the eve of their departure that the team is excited for the match as it will be held after a long time and a tough period is going on.
“All the players are excited after a tough period, though a tour to England has always been challenging, our performances there on the last two tours (in 2016 and 2018) are encouraging and we will try to repeat those,” he added.
In 2016, Pakistan drew a four-Test series 2-2 and in 2019 a two-match series 1-1. The Pakistan Cricket Board released pictures which showed the players wearing masks and maintaining social distance. A chartered plane carried the 20 squad members and two reserves. The travelling squad did not include the 10 players who tested positive. Six of them, however, tested negative for the virus but will be allowed in the game once they have two consecutive negative results.
After reaching England, the team will face a two week isolation period. The England vs Pakistan Test series is due to start on 30th July and will include three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals.
It will be one of the major matches held since the outbreak of corona earlier this year.