PCB Cancels Training Camp Due to Rising COVID-19 Threat, Asks ECB to Plan For Advanced Arrival
Misbah ul Haq and Younus Khan during Pakistan training session©PCB Twitter

The PCB on Tuesday asked the ECB to make arrangements for an advanced arrival of its national team in the UK after cancelling the training camp due to rising cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) now wants its team to reach England a full 40-days before the Test series in August.

The PCB announced that it would not be holding any training camp for the players before they leave for England. Over 100,000 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Pakistan with more than 2000 deaths.

“Taking into account the Covid-19 outlook in Pakistan in the coming weeks, the operational and logistical matters as well the observation that keeping players in a safe and secure environment would remain a challenge, the PCB has decided not to hold a training camp of the national men’s team prior to their departure for England,” read a PCB statement.

Following the cancellation of the camp, the PCB has asked the ECB to prepare an itinerary which allows the Pakistan team to reach London early in June. The squad was originally scheduled to land in the UK on July 6.

A PCB official said that after discussions it had become clear some players were reluctant to attend a training camp in Lahore as they wanted to spend time with their families before leaving on the long tour of England.

The PCB has however reminded the players not to practice at cricket grounds during this period and that they must observe and adhere to strict social distancing protocols. These instructions have been issued as their personal wellbeing as well as their family.

The PCB is considering sending at least 25 players in the touring squad to England due to the coronavirus situation in the UK as well to ensure that no problems occur if replacements are required.

The PCB official said that since the West Indies squad had already reached London for their Test series against England, the board would now be keeping a close eye on things and had also asked the ECB to update them periodically on how the bio-security environment was working for the players and coaches.

England has selected two venues — Aegeas Bowl and Old Trafford — for the West Indies series as both have on-site hotels.

According to ESPNcricinfo, the PCB cancelled the training camp as it was unable to construct a “bio-bubble” at its National Cricket Academy in Lahore due to paucity of rooms in the residential complex.

Pakistan are set to play three Tests and three ODIs against England in August and will be required to complete the quarantine period.