Three Pakistan cricketers test positive
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced Monday that three players have tested positive for the global virus ahead of the team's tour of England next month.
The PCB said leg-spinner Shadab Khan, fast bowler Haris Rauf and teenage batsman Haider Ali had tested positive despite showing no symptoms and would now go into self-isolation.
The first Test against England at Old Trafford is due to start on August 5.
The PCB is testing its players and officials ahead of the much-anticipated tour, which will also see games played in Southampton.
Pakistan is experiencing a surge in cases, with more than 180,000 so far including 3,590 deaths -- though real numbers are thought to be much higher.
The PCB also tested 23 players and 12 team officials Monday, with results due on Tuesday.
Additional tests are planned for later in the week in Lahore, with only players testing negative allowed to fly to England.
The PCB said anyone testing positive must remain in quarantine for two weeks.
After that period, they will only be allowed to rejoin teammates in England following two successive negative tests.
Pakistan players will also be subject to mandatory quarantine upon arrival in England, as per current British government regulations.
The team will eventually practice in what officials are describing as a "bio-secure" environment.
Following the August 5 Test in Manchester, Pakistan will play the remaining two games in Southampton, starting on August 13 and 21 respectively.
Pakistan will also play three Twenty20 internationals in Southampton on August 29, 31 and September 2.
Fortunately for the team, the three players who tested positive were not expected to play in the Test matches, only in the Twenty20 games.
Team physio Cliffe Deacon and bowling coach Waqar Younis will fly directly to England from South Africa and Australia before taking their virus tests.
Senior batsman Shoaib Malik, who will only play in the Twenty20 internationals, was allowed to join the team in late July to let him spend time with his Indian tennis star wife Sania Mirza and their son in Dubai.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Wikus de Wet