Pakistan's touring party is set to arrive in England this weekend despite a number of potential squad members testing positive for coronavirus, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Friday.
A total of 10 players and one member of the support staff returned positive results for the virus at the end of the first round of testing before departing for England. This development disrupted the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) plans of sending its 28-man squad – with Shoaib Malik expected to join the team at a later date – in one batch.
The 18 players who tested negative and the 10 Covid-19 positive cricketers underwent an additional round of tests, the outcomes of which are due on Saturday.
The ECB has announced that "those who are testing positive for COVID-19 will not be permitted to travel with the advance group on Sunday". This implies the likelihood of only 18 players travelling to England provided their second test also yields a negative result.
The PCB had recently called up five reserves and a replacement player support personnel for virus tests. One of the reserve players was uncapped wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir, who was touted by the PCB as a back-up keeper for Mohammad Rizwan, who tested positive.
Once the players land in England, they will undergo another test and start a 14-day isolation period in Worcester instead of Derbyshire as was originally thought.
Pakistan's preparations ahead of the first Test will include two internal four-day warm-up matches.
The three Tests and three T20Is will take place in the absence of spectators with the dates for these fixtures not yet confirmed.
Britain has been reeling with the massive impact of the coronavirus with the disease accounting for more than 43,000 deaths. Even though the towering death toll paints a grim picture of the health situation in the country, experts believe the United Kingdom has passed its peak as several lockdown measures have been gradually eased.
Pakistan's series against England will be played in the aftermath of the hosts' battle with the West Indies in three Tests starting at Southampton on July 8.