10 Pakistan players test positive for Covid-19 before England tour
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Tuesday that seven more players have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the team’s departure for England on June 28.
The infected players — Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hasnain, Imran Khan — took the test for the virus along with each one of their 29 squad members. In support staff, Malang Ali, the masseuse, has also contracted the virus.
“The PCB medical panel is already in contact with these players and the masseur, who have been instructed to observe strict quarantine at their homes for their and their families’ wellbeing,” the board said in a release.
On Monday, Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, and Haider Ali were diagnosed with the virus and were instructed to “immediately go into self-isolation” by the governing board. Today’s tests take the total number of COVID-positive players in Pakistan’s squad to ten.
“It is not a great situation to be in and what it shows is these are 10 fit and young athletes… if it can happen to players it can happen to anyone,” said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO, Wasim Khan.
However, Khan said that the tour of England will go ahead as scheduled despite ten players testing positive for Covid-19 and officials would now assemble in Lahore and another round of tests would be carried out on June 25 and a revised squad would be announced the next day.
“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.”
Meanwhile, other players including- Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah – have returned with negative tests.
Pakistan will play three Tests and three T20Is during their tour of England. The final itinerary is expected to be announced later this week.