The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that 23 cricketers, including five reserves and 11 members of the support staff of Pakistan’s England-bound cricket squad underwent the Covid-19 tests at a local hotel here on Thursday.
Among the players, 18 are those who have already been cleared in the first batch whose tests were held at their respective cities on Sunday and Monday. Meanwhile, those ten players who tested positive early this week will again appear for the tests on Friday.
Besides them, five reserve players namely Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Mohammad Nawaz, Musa Khan and new entrant Rohail Nazir appeared for the Covid-19 tests for the first time as they are being prepared as back-up of the 10 players who could not clear the tests on Tuesday.
Interestingly, the PCB only picked five reserves players as back up for the 10 players. The PCB has already announced a 29-member team for the England tour to play three Tests and three T20I matches against England, tentatively from August 5 to Sept 1. The squad is set to leave for England on June 28.
It is learnt that the PCB medical team is in contact with local doctors as well as England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and is keen to clarify whether the positive-tested 10 cricketers could be allowed to travel with the team to England, in case their second tests are negative.
Moreover, all 11-members of the support staff also appeared for their second tests conducted at the team’s hotel. Besides them, one more candidate — masseur Mohammad Imran — was also tested as possible replacement for Malang Ali who tested positive on Tuesday. Malang, however, will also appear for his second test on Friday.
Bilal, Imran, Nawaz and Musa were originally named as reserve players on June 12 when the 29-player squad was announced while Rohail has been added as a backup wicketkeeper because first choice wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan also tested positive in the first test.
Though Sarfaraz Ahmad as the team’s second wicketkeeper has cleared the Covid-19 test, Rohail may go to England as replacement for Rizwan.
“The PCB will announce the outcome of all tests on Saturday and until then will not make any further comment,” a PCB press release stated.