LAHORE-Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Wasim Khan has said that although 10 players Pakistani players are tested positive, yet Pakistan cricket team’s tour to England is still on.

Seven more Pakistan players and a team masseur have tested positive for Coronavirus. Earlier, Shadab Khan, Haider Ali and Haris Rauf were tested positive, while latest seven players to test positive were Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz, along with team masseur Malang Ali.

“Out of 10 players, who have tested positive, seven are the white-ball players, who are required for the T20I series, to be played from August 23 onwards. We fully expect the players to be tested again as those, who were negatively tested before, will be tested again in a bio-secure environment in a hotel on June 25. The squad will be announced on June 27 and the team will depart for England on June 28,” said Wasim while talking to the sports journalists during a videoconference here on Tuesday.

Citing the example of 10 fit players, the PCB CEO urged the public to follow strictly the guidelines and SOPs issued by the government. “This is not a great situation but these are 10 fit athletes, who have been tested positive for Coronavirus and there is a clear message for all people in Pakistan, men, women and children that please adhere to government guidelines because if it can happen to fit young Pakistan players, then it can happen to anybody.”

Wasim said: “I don’t think so, it is something for us to be concerned about as we are seeing growing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan but one thing I do know about England is that conditions are massively improving there, shops are opening and they are also looking to revise the quarantine period downwards from 14 days at the end of the month.”

About the inclusion of reserve players in the squad, he said: “Currently, Misbah is looking at the plan for reserve players. We have four players in the reserves and we are looking at whether we need to draw on those reserves to go to England, on top of that we are looking at 3 to 4 of other reserves, who Misbah is identifying at the moment. They will also be tested and will be on alert if required in England.

“There will be minimal disruption to those players, who have tested positive for COVID-19, because their T20 series will start six weeks later. So there is plenty of time for these players to recover and join the squad in England as well. We are still planning this but we expect to have 23 players (19+4 reserves) to take to England on the June 28, and when the remaining players join us in England anywhere between July 10 to 15 and the numbers will go up,” he said.

“If these players are tested positive again in 10-12 days time, then further reserves, being identified by chief selector and head coach Misbah, will come in and join the squad depending on which discipline those players are who cannot make it,” he added.

When asked where the affected players would stay, the PCB CEO replied: “We have asked the players about it and they would rather quarantine at home than with the PCB. We have given them strict guidelines and they know what they need to do to make the tour of England. Everyday, we will be checking in with them to make sure that they are strictly adhering to the isolation policy.

“We are also in touch with the touring West Indies side and they have told us that England have implemented exactly what they said they would do in terms of bio-secure etc,” he said. “Pakistan is more dangerous for all our health at the moment than what it is in England at the moment. We cannot sit with players at their homes everyday,” Wasim added.