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Sunday 12 July 2020

Pakistan to leave for England; 6/10 infected cricketers test COVID-negative

These players of Pakistan would, however, undergo another round of testing next week and can only then be cleared if they test negative again

Pakistan have dropped 10 players from their cricket team for the England tour after they tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, officials confirmed today. The Pakistani squad of 18 members is scheduled to leave tomorrow for England.

Pakistan will leave for their tour of England on 28 June with 20 players and 11 support staff, the PCB said. Six out of the 10 coronavirus-infected cricketers returned negative when they were tested the second time.

The Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan, informing the press that the team would depart for Manchester, said fast bowler Musa Khan and wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir, who were among the reserve players, had tested negative too. They will leave with the team, the PCB said.

Khan made it clear that the 10 players who had earlier tested positive would be sent to England only after two of their successive tests return negative.

Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz, out of the 10 players and one official who had earlier tested positive during the PCB testing programme, have tested negative in their second tests.

Players who have again tested positive are Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Kashif Bhatti and Imran Khan, along with masseur Malang Ali.

Khan reiterated that the six players who have now tested negative would undergo a third round of testing next week. If they test negative, he said, the PCB will make arrangements to send them to England. “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 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,” Khan said.

The chief executive said the squad would, upon arrival in Manchester, be transported to Worcestershire where they would undergo the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) testing before embarking on the 14-day isolation period, during which they can train.

The team of Pakistan will move to Derbyshire on 13 July to prepare for their three-test and three T20 international series against the home side in August-September.

Khan said that all 18 players and 11 support staff, who had tested negative for COVID-19 in the first round of tests on Monday, had returned negative in Thursday’s retests. “This was a challenging and unprecedented process that we have conducted and I am pleased that following the 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’ home towns, I think the PCB medical panel have done a good job to get us through this process,” Khan said.

The players leaving on Sunday are Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam (vice-captain), 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 Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, and Yasir Shah. Zafar Gohar, the left-arm spinner who played an ODI in 2015, will join the side from England and will only be involved in pre-match preparations.

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