10 players dropped from Pakistan's England tour over coronavirus: PCB - GulfToday

10 players dropped from Pakistan's England tour over coronavirus: PCB


Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez and Shadab Khan react during a cricket match. File / Reuters

Ten players have been dropped from Pakistan's cricket team for its England tour after they tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, officials said on Saturday.

The 18-strong squad is due to leave on Sunday and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Wasim Khan said the left out players could rejoin if they later test negative for the disease.

"This was a challenging and unprecedented process that we have conducted and I am pleased that following a second round of testing, we are able to confirm 20 players and 11 player support personnel will travel to Manchester on Sunday,” Wasim said.

Pakistan had some good news on Saturday when its test captain Azhar Ali and limited-overs skipper Babar Azam were among players with negative results from a second round of testing. Pakistan fast bowler Musa Khan and under-19 captain Rohail Nazir were among five reserve players and both tested negative.

Out of the 10 players who tested positive in the first round of PCB testing, six tested negative in the second round on Thursday. Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz will now have to pass another test next week before they could join the team in England.

Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain and Kashif Bhatti first tested positive earlier this week.

Follow-up tests found Bhatti, Rauf, Ali and Imran Khan were still positive. Pakistan's tour of England is set to include three Tests and three Twenty20 internationals.

The squad will have a 14-day isolation period on arrival before continuing their preparations ahead of the first Test with two four-day warm-up matches. During the isolation period, the team will be allowed to train and practice.

It is expected that the first Test will take place in Manchester in August but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the behind-closed-doors match schedule would be announced in "due course."

Wasim Khan said Pakistan were observing ECB guidelines.

"We were given protocols by the ECB which we have followed. Players are likely to be tested five to seven times before the first Test in England and that is to be done for their safety," he said.

The squad to fly on Sunday is: Azhar Ali (Test captain), Babar Azam (Twenty20 captain), Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Imad Wasim, and Yasir Shah.

Reserve players Rohail Nazir and Musa Khan will also fly out.

Pakistan is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, with nearly 200,000 declared cases and more than 4,000 deaths, while cases are falling in Britain.

Agence France-Presse / Associated Press

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