Pakistan Cricket Team’s preparation for their tour of England suffered a massive blow on Monday. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced via a media release that three of its key players: Haider Ali, Shadab Khan and Harif Rauf have been tested positive for COVID19 and are advised to go on an immediate self-isolation.
“The PCB medical panel is in contact with the three who have been advised to immediately go into self-isolation,” said the PCB in a statement.
— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) June 22, 2020
Questions about the future (COVID19):
All three players were listed in Pakistan’s squad for their tour of England and were slated to land in the UK in the first week of July. The infection has sent shockwaves amongst the fans rising questions of the feasibility of the cricket series. Though the cricketing world awaits for both the cricketing boards to talk about the fate of the cricket series, it is believed that the terror of the virus seems here in the sport to stay.
“The other players and team officials, barring Cliffe Deacon, Shoaib Malik and Waqar Younis, underwent tests at their respective centres in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar on Monday. Their results are expected at some stage on Tuesday.”
The decision to resume with cricket came in after the European club football began proceedings in a closed door arrangement. In fact, the West Indies team has already arrived and is scheduled to start their training post quarantine in England. The Indian cricket team is also expected to fly out to South Africa in early July for a three-match T20 series in a ‘bio-secured’ environment.
The recent tweaks made to the format:
ICC also announced changes in the rules and conditions of the game. In light of the pandemic, the governing body prohibited the use of saliva to shine the ball. They also put restrictions on team celebration to avoid frequent contact between players. The playing conditions and distribution of officials were also altered to allow a smooth resumption.
However, with the recent cases from the Pakistan team, the resumption of cricket overall has come into question. The safety, hygiene and the well-being of the players is paramount to the sport. Without any remedies, the threat of pandemic is only slated to rise. Veterans of the game like Rahul Dravid have also been vocal about the possible consequences that cricket might face if started early.
“A lot of these things are going to be dictated by the situation and how it evolves. In case of the bio-bubble, you do all the testing and quarantine. And then on day two of the Test match, what if one player, for example, tests positive? What happens then?” questioned Dravid
Meanwhile, Pakistan stalwarts Shahid Afridi and Taufeeq Umar who had already been tested positive for the virus are now on a road to recovery. A few other international players from Bangladesh, including their captain Mashrafe Mortaza have also been affected by COVID19. ICC’s response against the happenings remain are still awaited. As fans, we all continue to remain hopeful for some action but only under a safe, healthy bio-bubble environment.