Hours after a Pakistan Cricket Board doctor admitted that the England tour is dangerous under the current circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic, three players have tested positive for the virus, the board confirmed.
The PCB said on Monday evening that Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan – have tested positive for Covid-19. The PCB medical team is in touch with the players who have been advised to immediately go into self-isolation, PCB said in a statement.
The players had shown no symptoms until they had been tested in Rawalpindi on Sunday ahead of the Pakistan men’s national cricket team’s tour to England.
Imad Wasim and Usman Shinwari, also screened in Rawalpindi, have tested negative. They will travel to Lahore on June 24.
The other players and team officials, barring Cliffe Deacon, Shoaib Malik and Waqar Younis, underwent tests at their respective centres in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar on Monday.
Their results are expected at some stage on Tuesday, which will also be announced by the PCB through its usual channels.
The selectors have named four reserves in Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz.
Earlier in the day, Dr. Sohail Saleem, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s director of medicine and sports sciences said that this tour is important for Pakistan.
“During this pandemic it is a big risk but this tour is also necessary if cricket is to resume now. The tour is also important as it will also help the country get through the COVID-19 crisis," said Saleem.
The Pakistan squad of 29 players and 14 officials is due to take a 80-seater chartered flight to London on June 28 where they will spend 14 days in quarantine at an isolated base camp in either Worcestershire or Derbyshire before moving to Manchester. Pakistan will play three Tests and as many T20 Internationals during the tour. The final itinerary is expected to be announced later this week.
The PCB health official made it clear that players have been told to strictly follow social distancing norms in England and that no breach would be tolerated.
“If a player tests positive during the tour he will be kept in isolation for seven days and if his second test is negative he can join the team again, but if he tests positive a second time, he will be sent back home," he explained.