Just a day after three Pakistani players tested positive for the Covid-19, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday said seven more players and one personnel of the support staff have contracted the virus.
In a press release, the PCB confirmed “seven players and a player support personnel from a total of 35 have tested positive for Covid-19. The PCB had organised these 35 tests in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar on Monday.”
The increase in coronavirus cases have cast a doubt on Pakistan’s tour of England as sports analysts wondered whether the matches will be played as scheduled.
1992 Cricket World Cup winner Ramiz Raja in a tweet said, “Shockingly sad turn of events…8 more including 7 players on the touring party to England test positive for covid 19. Wishing a speedy recovery to all. What happens next!”
In addition to Haider Ali, Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf, who tested positive on Monday, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti and Mohammad Hasnain have tested positive for the virus.
All of these players were part of the squad to tour England on Jun 28 for the three-test and three-T20 series.
However, most of the players who have tested positive in the last two days were not part of the test squad. Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan was the only player on the test squad who has tested positive on Tuesday.
Clarifying the PCB’s stance on the matter, the board’s Chief Executive Wasim Khan said “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, he said that Pakistan’s Head Coach Misbah-ul-Haq is working on plans to review the practice schedule in England and planning for reserve players to be tested for Covid-19 before departing for England.
PCB Chief Wasim Khan said the players who have tested positive will be tested again on June 25 (Thursday). Players who test negative on Thursday will be cleared for departure to Manchestar on a chartered flight.
Upon their arrival in England, they will be under government-mandated quarantine but will be allowed to practice in a bio-secure environment.