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Pakistan's tour of England a 'big risk' but necessary if cricket is to resume: PCB doctor

The Pakistan squad of 29 players and 14 officials is due to take a chartered flight to London where they will spend 14 days in quarantine in Derbyshire.

PTI PTI
Karachi Published on: June 22, 2020 22:34 IST
Pakistan will play three Tests and as many T20
Image Source : AP

Pakistan will play three Tests and as many T20 Internationals during the tour.

Pakistan's tour of England in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is a "big risk" but one that is necessary to help the country battle the crisis, a top medical official associated with its cricket board said on Monday.

The official, Dr.Sohail Saleem, is the Pakistan Cricket Board's director of medicine and sports sciences.

"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 during a media interaction.

He confirmed that the first COVID-19 tests had been performed on the players and officials going to England on June 28 in four different cities.

"We will get the results in 24 hours time and if the player tests positive he will be stopped from going to England and sent into isolation until he recovers properly," Saleem said.

The Pakistan squad of 29 players and 14 officials is due to take a 80-seater chartered flight to London where they will spend 14 days in quarantine at an isolated base camp in either Worcestershire or Derbyshire before moving to Manchester.

"This is the first time both teams will be playing in such isolated conditions before empty stadiums and after following so many SOPs, but the end result is necessary for the sport, which is they will provide entertainment to the people."

In Karachi, the players and officials including Sarfaraz Ahmed, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Sohail Khan and batting coach Younis Khan took their tests at the National Stadium's Hanif Muhammad High Performance centre.

Saleem said similar tests have been conducted in Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

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.

He said no player or official will be allowed to meet with relatives or friends during the tour and they have also been told to be careful while interacting on social media.

Saleem said an encouraging sign for the coming tour was that the West Indies team was already in England while football leagues had also resumed in Europe.

"It's a good sign that some sports activities have resumed because at the end of the day, all of us have to fight through this pandemic."

"There is no crowd in football and there will be no spectators at cricket stadiums too," he said.

"The anxiety level of people sitting at home is rising, but cricket can be seen as lowering these."

The selectors have named four reserves in Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz.

Pakistan will play three Tests and as many T20 Internationals during the tour. The final itinerary is expected to be announced later this week.

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