Mohammad Amir, who had initially decided not to take part in Pakistan’s tour of England owing to the birth of his second child and concerns about travelling during that period, will now be joining the squad to play the T20I series.
Amir will now have to test negative for COVID-19 twice before he gets on the plane for England. He already tested negative once yesterday, he will undergo the other test tomorrow. Amir will be replacing rookie fast bowler Haris Rauf, who has tested positive for the virus 5 out of the 6 times that he has been tested. He was due to fly to the UK on Wednesday after this fifth test was found to be negative, only for his sixth test, each player needs two negative results before flying out of Pakistan, to turn out positive. He has been deemed to be asymptomatic and has been advised to isolate himself for another 10 days before undergoing yet another test.
Gloveman Rohail Nazir will return home, which would mean that Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed will be the primary wicketkeeping options ahead of the Test and T20 series. Rohail, elevated from the Under 19 circuit, was with the squad as cover when Rizwan tested positive in the initial round of tests last month. Rizwan was later cleared to travel after returning two negative tests. The PCB will also send an additional masseur Mohammad Imran to ease the workload of the team’s regular masseur Malang Ali who, also tested positive twice before finally being cleared to travel earlier this month.
The Pakistan players and the support staff arrived in England on June 28, several weeks before the start of the first match to be able to train in the country, as well as complete the mandatory quarantine period for all foreigners travelling to the UK. The touring party is living in a “bubble” where they will not interact with anyone outside of the group, and regular tests for COVID-19 will be conducted on the tour. The three Tests and three T20Is will all be played behind closed doors.