The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed the 20-member tour party has departed for the United Kingdom on Sunday and revealed six of the players who previously tested positive to coronavirus have now tested negative.
Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Hasnain have all now returned negative tests, but will need to undergo further tests to get approval to travel. No new players or support staff have tested positive.
With the COVID-19 crisis growing domestically in Pakistan, 10 players had tested positive on the eve of the side’s departure to travel for the tour, which includes a mandatory two-week isolation period.
PCB chief executive Wasim Khan: “This was a challenging and unprecedented process that we have conducted and I am pleased that following a second round of testing, we are able to confirm 20 players and 11 player support personnel will travel to Manchester on Sunday.
“Due to the increasing number of national cases and availability of testing labs in some players hometowns, I think the PCB medical panel have done a good job to get us through this process.
“Based on the national spread of players, there were always going to be some logistical challenges; we have taken a number of learnings from the process that we will take forward with us.
“With the Test series being played first in August, (coach) Misbah (ul-Haq) is satisfied with the group of players that are traveling on Sunday as the focus will be on red-ball preparation.
“Misbah understands that flexibility and adaptability will be needed with his training and practice schedule while operating under various guidelines.”
The three Tests in the series will take place from August 5 to August 25, before the three T20Is from August 28 to September 1.
Khan moved to clarify the situation with the players left behind, who had previously tested positive, as well as Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz, who took personal tests which returned negative results.
“I want to reassure the players and the official left behind that the PCB will provide them best support and look after them during the quarantine period,” Khan said.
“It needs to be remembered that these players were asymptomatic, which means their chances of regaining complete fitness are higher and brighter than most. As soon as these players test negative twice through the PCB testing process they will be flown to England to join the squad.
“I am aware Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz took personal tests outside of our process prior to the second PCB testing. While their results came up negative, as per the PCB testing programme, they are deemed to have one negative test following a positive test.
“Therefore, once they are retested and receive a second negative result under the PCB testing programme, they will be available to join the squad in England.”