The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has reached an agreement with the England Cricket Board (ECB) for a Test and T20I tour of England starting July 30. Pakistan will become the second team to tour England after the West Indies, who have already travelled to the country and have started training in a ‘bio-secure’ environment.
The 29-man Pakistan squad is expected to arrive in England at the start of July in four charted flights and will be put in quarantine soon after. The selectors have also named four reserve players over and above the 29 in case anyone fails a COVID-19 test before travelling.
Pakistan’s tour will feature three Tests followed by three T20Is, all of which will take place behind closed doors. The ECB has come up with extensive plans to keep the Pakistanis safe in a bio-secure environment which is likely to be in Birmingham in the beginning. The players and the support staff will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period set out by the government, will be in an enclosed environment and will not be allowed to interact with anyone outside of the group.
Ahead of the England tour, Pakistan was supposed to travel to Netherlands and Ireland. However, in April the Dutch government had announced that it will ban all sporting activities in the country until September 1.
The first Test will be conducted at Manchester and the second and third one at Southampton due to the in house hotel facilities at these venues. The three T20Is as of now are scheduled to happen in Southampton, though the itinerary isn’t confirmed yet.
For specifically this tour, Pakistan Cricket Board has appointed Younis Khan and Mushtaq Ahmed as their batting and spin-bowling coaches, respectively. The PCB also confirmed that Mohammed Amir and Harris Sohail have withdrawn from this particular tour. Amir who has retired from Test match cricket was all set to feature in the T20I series but wants to be home for the birth of his second child in August, while, Sohail has pulled out citing family concerns.
This tour will see their star batsman Babar Azam lead the side for the first time in T20Is, alongside regular Test captain, Azhar Ali. Batsman Haider Ali, one of Pakistan’s star performers in Under-19 cricket and the Pakistan Super League, has earned a maiden call up to the national team, while 36-year old fast bowler Sohail Khan has been recalled after a three-year hiatus from international cricket. Former captain, Sarfraz Ahmed has been selected as a backup keeper to Mohammad Rizwan. Sarfaraz last played for Pakistan in October 2019. The 29-man squad has a perfect blend of white and red ball specialists and we could be in for some cracking cricketing action.
Pakistan’s squad for England tour:
Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (Test Captain), Babar Azam (Test Vice-captain and T20I Captain), Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Kashif Bhatti, Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah.
Reserve Players: Bilan Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz.
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