Musa Khan, Rohail Nazir on plane for England cricket tour

RIZWAN ALI

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan fast bowler Musa Khan and under-19 captain Rohail Nazir will be among the 20 cricketers flying to England on Sunday for a tour whose dates are still to be confirmed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Khan and Nazir were added to the squad after 10 players were forced to miss the flight following positive tests for COVID-19.

The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed the tour on Friday, saying only that the three tests and three Twenty20s will be without spectators. The tour was originally to begin on July 30, but the pandemic delayed all tours, and England’s three-test series against the West Indies next month isn’t scheduled to end until July 28.

Pakistan’s itinerary “will be announced in due course,” the ECB said.

“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,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan said.

Upon arrival in England, the players will go into isolation for 14 days in Worcester before transferring to Derbyshire’s Incora County Ground on July 13. During the isolation period, the team will be allowed to train and practice.

Pakistan had some good news on Saturday when its test captain Azhar Ali and limited-overs skipper Babar Azam were among players with negative results from a second round of testing. Khan and Nazir were among five reserve players and both tested negative.

Out of the 10 players who tested positive in the first round of PCB testing, six tested negative in the second round on Thursday. Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz will now have to pass another test next week before they could join the team in England.

Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Kashif Bhatti and Imran Butt again tested positive in the second round of testing.

PCB official Wasim Khan said Hafeez and Riaz both underwent testing at a private lab after their first PCB test was positive earlier this week.

“Once they are retested and receive a second negative result under the PCB testing program, they will be available to join the squad in England,” Khan said.

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