Dubai: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is facing a race against time to salvage their tour of England with a total of 10 players testing positive till Tuesday. The players and player support personnel, who have tested negative, are scheduled to assemble in a bio-secure environment in Lahore on Thursday (June 24) and will undergo second round of testing on Friday, according to the PCB. Those testing negative on June 25, will thereafter depart for Manchester on a chartered flight. Within 24 after hours after arriving in the UK, they will be again tested by the ECB medical panel.
‘‘The tour of England is on track as of now,’’ a senior PCB spokesperson told Gulf News from Lahore. Ashley Giles, Director of ECB was upbeat about the tour in a conference call on Tuesday, when the count of positive results stood at only three. “I don’t think the series is in doubt,” he said, adding: “We are far enough away from the start of the Test series to not worry about that too much at the moment.
The players who have tested positive for the virus so far are Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan.
However, Hafeez on Wednesday said he got himself and his family tested in personal capacity for “second opinion” and the results came out negative.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan wicketkeeper Rashid Latif had lashed out at the PCB and the players for their unprofessional approach after the players tested positive for coronavirus.
Following Mondays announcement that three players had tested positive, the PCB on Tuesday confirmed that a further 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.
“Players who have tested positive were practising outside together, so there was bound to be a problem. Unprofessional approach from PCB and players is to blame for these positive COVID-19 tests,” Latif said on his YouTube channel.
“I also went to the ground for one day, but I maintained my distance with Rohail Nazir. You have to follow the protocols and keep distance,” he added.
All these players are part of the squad scheduled to travel to England for three Tests and as many T20Is currently scheduled to be played in August and September.