England v Pakistan: Ten players from touring squad have coronavirus


Seven more Pakistan players have tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total to 10.

However, players who have tested negative will depart for the tour of England on 28 June.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Wasim Khan said: “The tour to England is very much on track and the side will depart as per schedule.”

Pakistan are due to meet England in three Tests and three Twenty20s, beginning in August.

Speaking when only three cases were known, England director of cricket Ashley Giles said: “We’re hopeful that Pakistan will be arriving fairly soon.

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“We’re far enough away from the Test series to not worry about that too much at the moment.”

Haider Ail, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan showed no symptoms before testing positive on Sunday.

They have now been joined by Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz, along with team masseur Malang Ali, after further tests were carried out on Monday.

All 11 individuals have been told to observe “strict quarantine at their homes”.

The players and management staff who have tested negative will still meet up on Wednesday, undergo further testing on Thursday, and depart for the UK as planned. They will be tested again within 24 hours of their arrival.

Players who have tested positive will have to return two negative tests before they are allowed to travel.

Khan added: “The recent positive tests of some of the fittest athletes, who had not shown any symptoms, clearly reflect the danger this virus possesses.

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“As regards the players, who have tested positive, we will continue to monitor and support them, including conducting antibody tests, and as soon as they test negative, they will be flown to join the squad in England.”

As of Tuesday morning, there had been 185,034 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pakistan, resulting in 3,695 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

England’s matches this summer, beginning with three Tests against West Indies, are set to be played behind closed doors in bio-secure environments at Southampton and Old Trafford.

England’s 30-man training group will arrive in Southampton on Tuesday to prepare for the series with West Indies, which starts on 8 July.

Giles said: “The situation in Pakistan is not great at the moment and our thoughts go out to the whole country.

“All of this has uncertainty. We know how fast moving this has been around the world, so we have been very careful at every step. Do we really know what is around the corner? No.

“The bubble at Southampton and Old Trafford, we are trying to create environments that mitigate as much risk as we possibly can.”

Pakistan named a 29-man squad for the tour, with four additional players put on standby in case of positive tests.

Before the news of the seven additional positive tests, Giles said he did not think the tour would be placed in further jeopardy by more confirmed cases.

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“We are still far enough out even if a number of those tests are still positive,” he said.

“There are a number of hurdles to cross. We’re hopeful that we can get international sport on. It will be a real fillip for people around the world.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s two-Test tour of Bangladesh, which was scheduled for August, has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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