Pakistan’s tour of England thrown into chaos as three players test positive for coronavirus

PAKISTAN’S tour of England was thrown into chaos and uncertainty when three players tested positive for Covid-19.

Batsman Haider Ali, leg-spinner Shadab Khan and fast bowler Haris Rauf were immediately placed in isolation and will not fly with the squad to the UK this weekend.

Three Pakistani cricketers have tested positive for coronavirus

More test results from other players and backroom staff are expected today and, if further positive samples come back, the tour could even be cancelled.

None of the trio showed symptoms before they were tested in Rawalpindi.

Two other players, Imad Wasim and Usman Shinwari, were also screened in Rawalpindi and their tests were negative.

They will travel tomorrow to Lahore, from where a 29-man squad is due to fly to the UK on Sunday.

The majority of the remaining players and staff were tested across three sites on Monday, with results not yet available.

On arrival, the players and 14  support staff will be placed into quarantine for two weeks under Government regulations but are permitted to train in the way West Indies have done at Old Trafford.

The First Test is scheduled at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on August 5 followed by two Tests at Old Trafford and three T20 matches.

Pakistan’s tour of England is in serious doubt

It is believed the three players can be replaced but, if a raft of positive tests are returned, the tour is placed in serious jeopardy.

Haider, 19, is one of the most  exciting prospects in Pakistan while Shadab is a key performer, especially in white ball cricket.

Two weeks ago, the Pakistan Cricket Board scrapped a training camp as the rapid rise of cases made a bio-secure environment difficult. And ex-captain Shahid Afridi announced last week he had tested positive following the rise in cases.

First up for England is the Windies, and the rivalry between  all-rounders Ben Stokes and Jason Holder will be huge.

Although Stokes is a global superstar after his 2019 heroics in the World Cup and Ashes, Windies skipper Holder is actually the No 1 ranked Test all-rounder averaging 32 with the bat and 26 with the ball.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons said: “Ben is the type of person who wants to be No 1 and I believe Jason will always be looking to do his best to keep his position.”

The Windies begin a three-day intra-squad match at Old Trafford today as they prepare for the First Test in Southampton on July 8.

England’s 30-man squad gather today for a training camp.

Before the Test, skipper Joe Root’s team will wear training shirts with names nominated by local clubs — including doctors, nurses, carers and teachers.

He said: “We want to honour the brave key workers who went into bat for their country.”

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