PCB chief executive Wasim Khan has revealed the board faced a lot of challenges before reaching the conclusion to go ahead with the England tour.
Wasim singled out the discomforting news of 10 players testing positive for coronavirus at the end of the first round of testing, which put doubts on the feasibility of sending the team to England.
Pakistan's first batch of players that left for the United Kingdom did not feature Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain and Kashif Bhatti, all of whom turned out to be coronavirus-positive.
However, six of these 10 players soon rejoined the squad in England after returning successive negative tests for the virus. Later, three more players travelled for the tour while Mohammad Amir, who was originally not in the initial squad, was also called up by the selectors.
Pakistan's three-Test series against England commences on August 5 with the three T20Is to follow the red-ball contests.
Wasim commented that finalising arrangements for the tour was not easy given the grim circumstances but the PCB went through with the plans for the sake of international cricket in the Covid-19 era.
“The Board was under pressure when so many players’ tests came positive. Thus sending the cricket team to England during the coronavirus pandemic was quite a tough decision,” he told Geo News.
“We kept to our plan to go ahead with the tour because we had in the first place decided to send the team to play our important part in the restoration of world cricket and to keep it on track, it is imperative to continue with matches,” Wasim emphasised.
The Pakistan players are being kept in a "bio-secure bubble" where they are not allowed to interact with anyone outside the enclosed environment. Players are also being subjected to daily screening and will have regular tests in the lead-up to the first Test.
Elaborating on the decision-making process employed by the PCB, Wasim mentioned they took into account the fact that West Indies proceeded with their tour of England even when the pandemic was in a worse state.
“Whenever we are asked regarding our decision to proceed with the tour to England, the same question should also be posed to the West Indies cricket team, which has also continued with scheduled matches,” he said.
“The West Indies decided to go to England when the situation was quite worse over there [due to the pandemic].”