Pakistan’s tour of England in August appears in serious doubt after a further seven players tested positive to coronavirus on Tuesday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had already revealed that three players, Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan and Haider Ali, had returned positive COVID-19 tests and further testing of the selected squad for the England tour brought more positive results.
In total 10 players have now tested positive for coronavirus within the Pakistan squad, with the group scheduled to depart for England on Saturday ahead of the three Tests and three T20 Internationals in August and early September.
Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain and Kashif Bhatti are the latest players to test positive, with the team’s massage therapist has also returned a positive result for COVID-19.
Pakistan, like neighbours India, are experiencing a major surge in coronavirus cases, with almost 4,000 new cases on Tuesday, and more than 185,000 confirmed cases overall. There have been 3,695 deaths in Pakistan at the time of writing.
Despite the widespread contractions, PCB chief executive Wasim Khan was confident the tour would proceed as planned, noting the bulk of the side’s first choice Test players had tested negative.
The Test series is due to commence first, from August 5 to August 25, followed by the white ball T20I series from August 28 to September 1.
“The tour is very much on the track and the squad will depart as per schedule,” Khan said.
“Fortunately, all first-choice Test players, barring wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, are negative which means they can start training immediately after they are tested and given all clear when they arrive in UK.”
The Pakistan squad will continue to undergo testing before any departure to the United Kingdom, where they’ll undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine in Derbyshire.