The Pakistan players were going through the Covid-19 test phase ahead of their upcoming tour of England on Monday. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made arrangements to test players in their cities. Cricketers Usman Shinwari, Haris Rauf, Hyder Ali, Shadab Khan, and Imad Wasim have completed their respective tests in Lahore.
Seven cricketers based in Sindh province also completed their tests at the Hanif Mohammed High-Performance Center in Karachi. These included Sarfaraz Ahmed, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Sohail Khan, Shaan Masood, Mohammad Hasnain, and Kashif Bhatti. Newly appointed batting coach Younis Khan also tested for the tour of England.
PCB director of medicine and sports sciences doctor Sohail Salim told media personnel on Monday that tests were being conducted in four cities. “The tests are being conducted in four cities, while the results will be available in the next 24 hours. General health tests are being done along with annual construction tests. If a player is positive, he will be barred from touring.
Players who test positive will be kept in isolation, however, they may be sent to tour on recovery. SOPs for the tour has been created by both boards. Salim said that no player would be allowed to visit relatives or friends during the tour.
Salim also acknowledged that the upcoming tour of England during the coronavirus epidemic was a “great risk”, but one that was necessary to help put the country in crisis. “During an epidemic, seizures are a major risk,” he said. “We do not experience playing during an epidemic, but for both teams, this will be the first time. An epidemic means risk but understands the players … as providing entertainment to people.
” He was also encouraged to resume football in Europe. “There is no crowd in football and there will be no spectators even in cricket stadiums,” he said. “The anxiety levels of people sitting at home are increasing, but cricket can be seen reducing them.” The concerned players and staff, who are expected to leave for the tour, are currently providing samples in their respective city centers. The second phase of the trial will begin on June 25.
If a test comes back positive, the player or staff member concerned must quarantine at home while a reserve player is called to fill the slot. The selectors have also covered the four names of Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan, and Mohammad Nawaz, as no player fails the pre-tour Covid-19 test.
The PCB has announced a 29-man squad for the upcoming tour of England which will leave on a chartered flight from Lahore to Manchester on 28 June. Pakistan’s legendary all-rounder Shoaib Malik will leave on 24 July after receiving a special delivery from the PCB. In addition to the cricketers, support personnel of 14 players will also travel with the squad.
Meanwhile, 30 cricketers in the England team along with their 15-member support staff are to undergo the Covid-19 test on Tuesday. Pakistan is scheduled to take home in three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), which will be played in August-September. The first Test is expected to be played on 5 August according to the current schedule.