LAHORE: 20 players and 11 support personnel of Pakistan cricket team have left for Manchester on a chartered flight today (Sunday) for a three-Test and three-T20I series that will 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 13 July.
In a positive news, all 18 players and 11 player support personnel, who had tested negative for Covid-19 in the first round of tests on Monday, had again returned negative in Thursday’s retests.
Besides the 29 members, tests of fast bowler Musa Khan and Pakistan U19 captain and wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir, along with three other reserve players, were also conducted on Thursday and they were also returned negative.
As such, Musa and Rohail have been included in the first group of travellers, which is:
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.
Cliffe Deacon and Waqar Younis will join the side directly from South Africa and Australia, respectively, while Shoaib Malik is expected to travel around 24 July.
Following advice from leading sports science experts and as per the UK government regulations, players who have tested positive during the PCB testing process will be unable to travel on Sunday.
However, they will be sent to England as soon as their two tests return negative.
Amongst the four reserves players, who were tested on Wednesday, only Imran Butt has tested positive, while the tests of Bilal Asif, Mohammad Nawaz and Musa Khan were negative.
Out of the 10 players and one official, who had earlier tested positive during the PCB testing programme, six players have tested negative in the retests. They are: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz.
Players who have again tested positive are: Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Kashif Bhatti and Imran Khan, along with Malang Ali (masseur).
The six players who have now tested negative will undergo third round of testing at some stage next week and if their tests remain negative, then the PCB will make arrangements to send them to England.
The five players and the masseur, who have are positive, have been advised by the PCB medical panel to observe strict quarantine to protect their families and friends from the contagion. As in the past, the PCB medical panel will provide them complete support and continue to monitor their progress. These players will undergo tests following the completion of the quarantine period and will be sent to England following two negative tests.—NNI