The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning to take preventive measures keeping the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mind as the national team prepares for its twin tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa later this year.
This includes sending an extended contingent of players and officials, using a chartered flight to South Africa, instead of flying commercial airlines. The last time Pakistan traveled commercial airlines, was to New Zealand and it resulted in the many players and support staff testing positive for COVID-19 on arrival in New Zealand.
PCB is already facing a lot of flak for lax bio-security measures which led to the postponement of PSL 2021 after multiple players and officials tested positive for Coronavirus and players were found breaching the bio-bubble protocols.
Players And Staff To Fly On A Chartered Flight To South Africa
According to a well-informed source, PCB mentioned having learnt a lesson from the dreaded New Zealand tour, where they lost the Test series 2-0 and the T20I series 2-1. PCB is expecting to send a 30-member squad including all-format players and Test specialists, apart from support staff.
“The board has also learnt from the experience of sending the players and support staff via a commercial flight to New Zealand last year when around 8 to 10 players and staff ended up testing positive and led to the entire team being quarantined for 14-days in Christchurch,” he said to PTI.
Test Specialists To Travel With White-Ball Squad To Avoid Hassles
The source also talked about PCB incurring extra costs on the chartered flight as well as on the lodging and other expenses of the Test specialist players in the squad. Pakistan plays three ODIs and four T20 internationals against South Africa, but no Test matches. However, against Zimbabwe, Pakistan will play two Tests and three T20 matches.
“The PCB has held talks with the South African board over how the extra players would be managed in a biosecure bubble in South Africa as the board wants them to be with the team from the start for the test series in Zimbabwe to avoid any hassles over Covid-19 protocols.” the source said.
PCB has requested Cricket South Africa to include the test specialist players in the bio-secure bubble. Also, all players and support staff will undergo quarantine and testing in Lahore before leaving for South Africa.