Pakistan’s cricket team will leave for its tour of England on Sunday without 10 players, after they tested positive for coronavirus for a second time, the country’s cricket board said Saturday.
The board chief executive Wasim Khan said the players can rejoin the squad of 18 players if they later test negative.
Players 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 Khan were still positive.
Of those missing the start, only wicketkeeper Rizwan would be classed a first-choice Test player.
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 internal four-day warm-up matches.
It is expected that the first Test will take place in Manchester in August but the England and Wales Cricket Board 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.