LAHORE: A sword of fear is hanging over the officials and cricketers who are the part of 44-member Pakistan squad due to leave on Sunday for England where the visitors would play three Tests and as many Twenty20 Internationals from Aug 5 to Sept 1.
As the second round of Covid-19 testing of 28 players and 12 officials — besides five reserves players and one probable official — was completed on Friday, the PCB is to announce the final list of cricketers and officials to travel to England by Saturday. It appears that almost all the players and officials are going through a tense phase of uncertainty as to what the upcoming tour holds for them.
Those cricketers and officials who were found negative in the first round of tests are staying at a hotel under a bio-secure environment, and their second round tests were also conducted in the hotel.
However, it was learnt that many of those players who had tested positive in the first round went to hospitals in their respective cities to appear for the second round of tests instead of giving the samples at their homes where they are supposed to serving the quarantine, period.
The PCB has this stance that as the smart lockdown is going on in different localities of several cities, it was not possible for the hospitals’ managements across the country to reach the cricketers at their respective homes.
There is also a fear within the PCB camp that if, God forbid, any key player or official of the team management tests positive in the second round, it could create a big mess and may jeopardise the team’s timely departure to England. The time is indeed running short as after receiving the results of second round by June 27, there is only a day left before the squad departs for England at the weekend.
Meanwhile, bowling coach Waqar Younis is heading from Australia to England via Dubai on Saturday to join the Pakistan squad there, and will be appearing for Covid-19 test after arriving there.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2020