On Saturday the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that 20 players and 11 player support personnel will travel on a chartered flight to Manchester on Sunday morning for a three-Test and three T20I series including Musa Khan and Rohail Nazir and left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar who will join them from England to assist in pre-series preparations.
· Provided that the players who have been tested positive within the PCB testing programme require two negative tests before being allowed to travel, six out of ten players were tested negative in retests.
Upon arrival in Manchester, they will be taken to Worcestershire where they will undergo the England and Wales Cricket Board testing before completing their 14-day isolation period, in the course of which they will be allowed to train and practice.
A favorable news for the team is that all 18 players and 11 player support personnel, who had earlier been tested negative for Covid-19 on Monday, have again returned negative in Thursday’s retests.
The 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 all have returned negative.
The first group of travellers including Musa and Rohail are as follows:
Players – 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.
Player support personnel – Mansoor Rana (manager), Misbah-ul-Haq (head coach), Younis Khan (batting coach), Mushtaq Ahmed (spin bowling coach), Shahid Aslam (assistant coach), Abdul Majeed (fielding coach), Talha Butt (team analyst), Yasir Malik (strength and conditioning coach), Dr Sohail Saleem (team doctor), Lt Col (retd) Usman Riffat (security manager) and Raza Kitchlew (media and digital content manager).
Shoaib Malik is expected to travel around 24 July, whereas Cliffe Deacon and Waqar Younis will join the side directly from South Africa and Australia, respectively. However, players who were tested positive during the PCB testing process will be unable to travel on Sunday. Nevertheless, they will be sent to England as soon as their two tests turn out to be negative.
On Wednesday, only Imran Butt was tested positive amongst the four reserves players, while the others, 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, Moreover, six players out of ten players and one official have been tested negative in their retests. Which includes: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz.
Players who were again returned as positive in their retests are: Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Kashif Bhatti and Imran Khan, along with Malang Ali (masseur).
Next week, these six players who have been tested negative will undergo third round of testing and if their result remains negative, then they will be send to England by PCB.
The five players and the masseur, who have are positive,. The PCB medical panel will provide complete support to those five players and the masseur, whose test results are positive. They have been advised by the PCB medical panel to observe strict quarantine and monitor their progress to protect their families and friends from the contagion. After the quarantine period ends, these players will again undergo and will be sent to England after two negative tests.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan: “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.
“Due to the increasing number of national cases and availability of testing labs in some players’ hometowns, I think the PCB medical panel have done a good job to get us through this process. Based on the national spread of players, there were always going to be some logistical challenges; we have taken a number of learnings from the process that we will take forward with us.
“With the Test series being played first in August, Misbah is satisfied with the group of players that are traveling on Sunday as the focus will be on red-ball preparation. Misbah understands that flexibility and adaptability will be needed with his training and practice schedule while operating under various guidelines.’
“I want to reassure the players and the official left behind that the PCB will provide them best support and look after them during the quarantine period. It needs to be remembered that these players were asymptomatic, which means their chances of regaining complete fitness are higher and brighter than most. As soon as these players test negative twice through the PCB testing process they will be flown to England to join the squad.
“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 up 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.
“Lastly, on behalf of the PCB, I want to once again urge the Pakistan cricket fans and followers to support the government in their fight against coronavirus by strictly following its instructions. Only through taking personal responsibility can we begin to eradicate this virus.”