Pakistan’s upcoming tour of England has been thrown a major curve ball after three of the first five Pakistan players to be tested for COVID-19 tested positive.
These cases included Melbourne Stars quick Haris Rauf.
The tests went ahead in Rawalpindi on Sunday, Rauf, allrounder Shadab Khan, a former Brisbane Heat player and uncapped teenager Haider Ali, all found to be carrying the virus while being asymptomatic.
The trio will now self-isolate and won’t be part of the squad that departs for Manchester on June 28.
Luckily for Pakistan, the three are seen as whit ball options for the tour and the Twenty20 leg of the tour comes after the Test series. This means they should be clear to travel once they’ve recovered.
Four standby players – Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz – were named as cover, but any further positive tests could escalate the issue.
A further 23 players and a several support staff were tested on Monday with results due within 24 hours.
Batsman Haris Sohail opted out of the tour to England due to the concerns of his family.
All-rounder Shoaib Malik has already been granted special dispensation to arrive after extra time at home, after travel restrictions kept him away from his wife and son for five months.
The positive results came a day after a Pakistan Cricket Board medical official said the upcoming tour of England was “a big risk” but necessary to help the country get through the crisis.