Pakistan Batsman Shoaib Malik Gets Green Light For Late Departure For England Tour
Shoaib Malik in action for Pakistan©AFP

Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik, who plays only the Twenty20 format, was on Saturday granted permission to join the national squad late in England so that he can spend some time with his family, whom he has not seen for nearly five months.

Malik has been in Pakistan since the coronavirus outbreak while his wife, tennis player Sania Mirza, and one-year-old son Izhaan, have been in India due to the ban on international travel.

A 29-member Pakistan squad will depart on June 28 for Manchester but Malik has been allowed to reach England on July 24 after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) agreed for his late arrival.

“Unlike the rest of us, Shoaib Malik has not seen his immediate family for nearly five months due to his commitments and the subsequent international travel bans following the Covid-19 pandemic,” PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said in a statement.

“As travel restrictions are now slowly easing out and there is an opportunity for a family reunion, it is appropriate that at a human level we show compassion as part of our duty of care and respect Shoaib’s request.”

“We have spoken with the England and Wales Cricket Board who understand the situation and have agreed to make an exception by helping Shoaib enter the country on 24 July. Of course, Shoaib will follow the UK government’s policies on visitors entering the country before integrating with the side.”

The 38-year-old former captain has retired from the Tests and One-day formats. The three-match T20 series against England is slated to begin from August 29 while the Test series starts from July 30.

After reaching Manchester, the Pakistani players will travel to Derbyshire for a 14-day quarantine period.