Saturday May 16, 2020
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has struck “an agreement in principle” with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECM) to send the national team to the UK in July for a Test and T20I series, board CEO Wasim Khan has confirmed.
“It was very thorough and comprehensive briefing and the PCB was satisfied with what we were told. At this point, we have agreed in principal to tour England. But, of course, our first and foremost priority is players health and safety,” Wasim Khan told GEO News on Saturday.
Wasim said that the ECB has agreed to bear the cost of chartered plane that will fly players from Pakistan to England for the series scheduled to be played from August 5.
“We will send our white-ball and red-ball cricketers together ... maybe a squad of 25 to 28 players, and they’ll travel together as it would be difficult to make different travel arrangements. Also, having additional players available in England will allow team management to organise intra-squad practice games on the tour,” he said.
He further said that the PCB will not force any player to go on the tour and it will be entirely players’ decision whether they want to be onboard or not.
“We will be giving briefing to our players sometimes in next week on health and safety measures during the tour,” he said.
Wasim confirmed that if all goes according to plan, the Pakistan team will arrive in England in mid-July and players will be tested at their arrival and quarantined before commencing cricket activities.
“We have discussed the bio-security of players during the tour and we are satisfied with it. Once tested, players will be able to socialise among themselves at designated places in hotel or stadium. They will be treated like a family unit then and will stay in a bubble,” the PCB CEO added.
“There will be frequent temperature and infection tests during the tour as well."
He reiterated that health and safety of cricketers is the first and foremost priority of PCB and the cricket board will have additional insurance covering pandemic diseases for the players.
“The medical staff of both the boards will remain in touch and have frequent conferences to discuss developments,” he added.
Wasim said that all matches of the tour will be played at two venues where hotel is available within the stadium premises and a third venue could be added to the list for practice games.
However, he said that venues will be decided in due course as England is also expecting a tour by West Indies and that tour will give everyone an idea on how the things are.
Reports suggest that Manchester and Southampton are likely venues for Pakistan’s tour, while Birmingham is being considered as a backup venue.
Wasim also confirmed that the PCB will seek the government’s guideline regarding the tour.