Pakistan Cricket Board medical official Dr.Sohail Saleem has said that the national team’s upcoming tour to England is a big risk but one that will help the country recover from the trauma of the Covid-19 crisis.
Pakistan Cricket team is scheduled to tour England for a three-match Test series and as many T20Is in August and September.
The PCB has named an extended 29-member squad, which will leave for England on Sunday.
“During the pandemic, it’s (the tour) a big risk,” PCB’s director of medical and sports sciences Dr. Sohail Saleem said on Monday.
“We haven’t experienced (playing during a pandemic), but for both teams it will be a first. The pandemic means risk, but consider them (players) as … providing people entertainment.” he added.
Pakistan Cricket Team will be tested twice on their arrival in England
Sohail said that he is encouraged by the resumption of Bundesliga and Premier League behind closed doors.
“There’s no crowd in football and there will be no spectators at cricket stadiums too. The anxiety level of people sitting at home is rising, but cricket can be seen as lowering these.” he said.
All 29 players of the Pakistani touring party will be tested twice upon their arrival in England. Saleem said players will undergo another testing session before they commence their training in a bio-secure environment.
“After every 5-7 days we will be carrying out testing of the players in the UK. Three days before the start of the first test another round of testing of all the players will be done and if a player tests positive, he will be quarantined. We have set the protocol with the England and Wales Cricket Board.” Saleem added.
Pakistan hasn’t played competitive cricket since the postponement of the Pakistan Super League in March and Saleem feels that players would have been mentally affected due to the lockdown.
“Players could have been mentally affected, but it’s affecting even the common man,” Saleem said.
The medial official also revealed that he had a meeting with head coach + chief selector Misbah Ul Haq after PCB’s decision to cancel the training camp in Lahore due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in Lahore and hence the team will now depart ahead of its schedule.
“We had a meeting with the head coach about how much time he needed (to get the players ready) and he said at least 5-6 weeks were required. It was not possible in Pakistan, but the ECB provided us maximum time to train in a bio-secured environment.” Saleem revealed.