Seven more Pakistan cricketers have coronavirus ahead of UK tour


Karachi (AFP)

Seven more Pakistan players due to tour England in August have tested positive for coronavirus, the country's cricket board said Tuesday, taking the total to 10 since the first results were announced this week.

Pakistan are due to depart for England on Saturday ahead of a series that will see them play three Tests and three Twenty20 internationals against England, starting in August.

Despite the new cases, the Pakistan Cricket Board's chief executive Wasim Khan insisted the tour would go ahead.

"The tour is very much on the track and the squad will depart as per schedule," said Khan.

"Fortunately, all first-choice Test players, barring wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, are negative which means they can start training immediately after they are tested and given all clear when they arrive in UK," he added.

Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Kashif Bhatti are the latest to be diagnosed with the virus.

It comes after three cricketers Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf and Haider Ali tested positive on Monday.

The team's massage therapist has also tested positive.

Pakistan is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, with more than 185,000 so far, including 3,695 deaths, while cases are falling in Britain.

Khan expressed disappointment so many players had tested positive.

"We gave players the guidelines but we can't stop them from meeting their relatives," he said.

All players that tested negative will undergo another screening for the virus in Lahore on Thursday before heading to England on a chartered plane two days later.

The Pakistan squad will then spend 14 days in quarantine in Derbyshire before moving to Manchester for practice games before the Test series.

Four reserve players -- batsman Imran Butt, allrounder Mohammad Nawaz, spinner Bilal Asif and fast bowler Musa Khan -- will also undergo testing. If cleared, they will join the squad.

Senior batsman Shoaib Malik has been allowed to spend some time with his Indian tennis star wife Sania Mirza and their son in Dubai.

Malik, who has retired from Test and one-day cricket, was only selected for the Twenty20 internationals and is likely to join the squad on July 24.