COVID-19 creating hurdles in England Tour as key players of the team tested positive with the virus

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) communicated that COVID-19 test of players Haider Ali, Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf has emerged positive.

According to PCB all the three players will be going to complete their quarantine period. While Usman Shinwari, Imad Wasim was also tested for the virus in Rawalpindi and their results came negative. Whereas bowling coach Waqar Younis, Shoaib Malik and Cliffe Deacon all have been tested and now they are waiting for their results to be came today.

The developments lay bare the stark challenges of going ahead with international cricket in these times, with Pakistan’s departure for England for a three-Test three-T20I tour less than a week away.

The team is due to arrive in the UK five weeks before the start of the series in August, with the travelling party self-containing in a “bubble” which means they will not contact anyone outside their group. Families are to be prohibited from joining the players, and just last week, Haris Sohail and Mohammad Amir announced they would not take part.

As yet, the entire squad has not been required to go into self-isolation because the team hasn’t begun training collectively, but the PCB did advise anyone who had been in contact with the trio to “self-isolate immediately”.

As per the set of rules lined up by PCB for the England tour, it will not be possible for the three COVID-19 positive players to join the team even at a later stage, even though they have not been allowed to travel with the squad, which is due to flew for Manchester from Lahore on a specially chartered flight on the 28th of June.

As per the England’s guideline all players are going to be tested again after they got arrived on England’s soil. After completing the period of isolation if the test of COVID-19 of the trio comes negative then they can take a business flight for England, where they will remained into the bubble as the others player may be doing after arriving at England as per schedule.

It is not happening for the first time that the hurdles are coming for the preparation of the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while these are the first time three players whose test have resulted in positive from the group of players travelling to england

A fortnight ago, the PCB scrapped plans to host a training camp in Pakistan ahead of the tour, with the rapid growth of cases in the country making it impossible to achieve a bio-secure environment. That necessitated bringing forward the team’s departure to England, with the aim of conducting a camp there, where the virus has passed its peak.

Pakistan has seen a rush of Covid-19 cases over the recent few weeks. The country currently has around 185,000 confirmed cases, which ranks it 13th globally; while it is believed the pandemic has not yet reached its peak in the country which resulted to reimpose a partial lockdown previously in this week.

Former Pakistani Cricket Team captain and star all rounder Shahid Afridi declared that his of COVID-19 has came positive and he is taking himself to self isolation. Other players included Toufeeq Umar which has been tested positive and seeking a complete recovery Talking before departure of the squad, PCB’s Director of Sports Medicine Dr. Sohail Saleem, accepted that the players were taking a “big risk” embarking on the tour of England in the middle of a pandemic.

Story by: Talha Ali Hashmi

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