Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Khan has said that a back-up plan is going to be put into place after 10 out of 29 players tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Men in Greens’ ‘bio-secure’ tour of England.
While talking to the media on Tuesday, Khan said that players who had tested positive, have been provided strict Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs), while adding that all 10 effected players are currently in isolatio.
“At the moment, all the players have been advised to go into self-isolation immediately. We have asked them to follow all the provided SoPs strictly,” said Khan.
“We will continue to monitor and support them, including conducting antibody tests, and as soon as they test negative twice, they will be flown to join the squad in England,” he added.
The 10 players who tested positive over the last couple of days are Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, and Wahab Riaz, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali and Shadab Khan. Malang Ali, the team’s masseur, also tested positive for the deadly virus.
Giving his opinion on the England media reporting possible cancellation of Pakistan’s tour in the wake of players testing positive, Khan said that seven out of 10 COVID-19 positive players are white-ball specialists. The other 3 are Test players but only Mohammad Rizwan was due to play the first Test in early August.
“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,” he said.
Khan also revealed that the squad is likely to travel to England with 23 players initially including the four reserve players [Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan, and Mohammad Nawaz] depending on their respective covid-19 tests.
“We will travel to England with 23 players including our four reserved players who are yet to be tested. 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,” he concluded.
The Pakistan squad is set to leave for the UK via chartered plan on June 28. The Men in Green are to play the hosts in 3 Tests and as many T20Is.