Hafeez, Shadab among six cricketers cleared to join Pakistan squad in England


Hafeez had also taken an independent test for COVID-19 and returned a negative result.

Hafeez had also taken an independent test for COVID-19 and returned a negative result. © Getty

All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, legspinner Shadab Khan and returning fast bowler Wahab Riaz are among six Pakistan cricketers who have tested negative for COVID-19 for a second time in three days.

The group of six cricketers, also including Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain and Mohammad Rizwan, were tested again on Monday (June 29) after their tests dated June 26 had come out negative.

They will now fly out to Manchester on July 3, and then head to Worcester to join up with the rest of the squad once they test negative for covid-19 as per the ECB testing programme.

Even though Hafeez and Riaz had undertaken independent Covid-19 tests outside of PCB’s process, and returned negative results early last week, they were “deemed to have one negative test following a positive test” and were mandated to obtain a second negative from a PCB-authorised test to get the nod.

The news of these second negative tests for these six cricketers is a shot in the arm for Pakistan, who were left terribly depleted in their attempts to get back to international cricket and better their drawn efforts from 2016 and 2018 in Test series against England.

With as many as 10 players testing positive for Coronavirus from the initial round of tests, the board, eager to ensure a conduct of the series, named a reworked 20-man squad with the likes of fast bowler Musa Khan and keeper-bat Rohail Nazir flying out to the UK in the first batch on June 28.

From the original 29-member squad named by the PCB for the three Tests and three T20Is, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan and Kashif Bhatti have still to overturn their initial positive tests and have been strictly advised to quarantine themselves. They can join the squad in England only if they return two negative tests.

Meanwhile, Shoaib Malik, who didn’t fly out in the first batch of 20 players, will join the team in England on July 24 after spending some time with his family in India.

The first batch of the squad have already started a 14-day isolation period at Blackfinch New Road, Worcester. They’ll transfer to Derbyshire’s The Incora County Ground on July 13 to accelerate their preparation ahead of the first Test, which will include two four-day internal warm-up matches.

Pakistan 20-man squad already in UK:

Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (Test captain), Babar Azam (Test vice-captain and T20I captain), Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Musa Khan, Rohail Nazir

Players set to join squad:

Mohammad Hafeez, legspinner Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hasnain, Shoaib Malik (July 24)

**This news copy has been updated as per the PCB media release on July 1, 2020

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