Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced that 10 players have tested positive for COVID-19 during a round of tests ahead of the squad assembling for their tour of England.
Initially three players – Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan – were revealed to have tested positive, before a further seven names – Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz – were added to the list a day later. In addition, one member of support staff, the team masseur Malang Ali, has also tested positive. None of the 35 players and support staff tested – including the 11 who tested positive – were displaying symptoms before testing according to PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan. “The recent positive tests of some of the fittest athletes, who had not shown any symptoms, clearly reflect the danger this virus possesses,” Khan said in a press statement. “As such, and on behalf of the PCB, I once again request the public to strictly adhere to all safety precautions as advised and recommended by the federal and provincial governments to ensure their health and safety as well as of their dear and near ones. 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. At the moment, they have been advised to go into self-isolation so that they not only recover quickly but also prevent their other family members from being infected.”
Despite the setback, Khan insisted that the tour to England was not under threat, though he confirmed contingency plans were being put together for replacements should more players test positive during later rounds of testing.