Pakistan batting coach Younis Khan has asked Pakistan fans to keep them in their prayers ahead of the team’s journey to England for a two-month tour. Before departing on Sunday, Younis shared an image of the luggage he is set to carry as the former captain joined the squad during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The tour is set to consist of three Tests and as many T20Is and will be played after the conclusion of England’s three-match Test series against West Indies starting July 8.
“The new journey with @TheRealPCB as a batting coach begins tomorrow as we look to depart for England. Keep us in your prayers during these testing times,” Younis said in his tweet along with the image.
On Saturday, the PCB dropped 10 players for the tour after they tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time.
Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan said the left out players could rejoin if they later test negative for the disease.
The 10 players to miss out are Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Kashif Bhatti, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hafeez.
Taking to Twitter, PCB named the squad which will be led by Azhar Ali and Babar Azam will be the deputy for the Test matches. The limited-overs team will be led by Babar.
Test skipper Azhar Ali said they were looking forward to playing in what will be some of the first Test matches since the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a global lockdown.
"All the players are excited after a tough period," said Azhar on the eve of departure.
"Though a tour to England has always been challenging, our performances there on the last two tours (in 2016 and 2018) are encouraging and we will try to repeat those."
Pakistan drew a four-Test series 2-2 in 2016 and a two-match series 1-1 two years later.
A chartered plane carried 20 squad members including two reserves, who were seen wearing masks and observing social distancing at Lahore airport in pictures released by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The squad will face a two-week isolation period on arrival before continuing their preparations ahead of the first Test with two four-day warm-up matches.
Pakistan are due to play three Tests against England in August followed by three Twenty20 internationals.
Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, 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 Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari and Yasir Shah.