Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup – Pakistan v Afghanistan – Headingley, Leeds, Britain – June 29, 2019 Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi celebrates taking the wicket of Afghanistan’s Hashmatullah Shahidi Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith
Pakistan are all set to tour England in July to play three Tests and three T20 internationals in a bio-secure environment with the PCB giving its approval to their English counterparts during a video link meeting.
Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive, Wasim Khan told a news channel that the PCB has agreed “in principle” to tour England in July.
“We had a very detailed and comprehensive discussion with the ECB on Friday regarding the tour and PCB has now agreed in principle to send our cricket team to England in July,” Wasim said.
During the discussions held via video link on Friday, it was agreed that Pakistan would play the matches behind closed doors at grounds which have hotels inside the ground.
The PCB chief said 25 players will travel to England on four chartered flights in the first week of July and that the series will be played behind closed doors after the players have completed their quarantine periods.
Wasim said he will brief Test captain Azhar Ali and ODI and T20 captain Babar Azam on the tour next week, adding that all of the players will be briefed fully on England’s preparations for the tour.
He insisted that the health and safety of players would be paramount and no player would be forced to go to England.
“If a player doesn’t want to go, we will accept their decision and take no disciplinary action,” Khan said, adding, however, that based on his information, every player wants to join the tour.
He also said clearance would be sought from the government before going on tour.
Wasim said the safety measures to be adopted for the series include matches to be played in empty stadiums, Pakistan to travel to London via chartered flight, players to be tested for the virus and quarantined if necessary.
“Manchester and Southampton will be the likely venues for the Test series and the ECB will announce a third venue soon,” Khan said.
“Biosecurity arrangements will be made by the host country and medical staff will remain with our team throughout the tour. We will test all our players and regular temperature checks will be ensured. It’s very important that cricket is revived during these challenging times,” he added.
The England and Wales Cricket Board is struggling to overcome a financial crisis with the English cricket season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ECB this week announced that its players would be returning to training under strict guidelines as the first step towards resuming cricket activities in England.