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Basit confident of Pakistan team’s timely departure to England

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ISLAMABAD-Former middle-order batsman Basit Ali is confident that despite Pakistan’s 10 players testing positive for COVID-19, the national team will depart for England as planned.

The players, who have tested negative, will depart for the tour of England on June 28. Pakistan team is due to play three Tests and three T20Is against England in August-September. “Among the players, who tested positive, only Mohammad Rizwan was a Test player, while others were part of the T20 outfit, hence Pakistan’s Test team would not be affected much,” said Basit while speaking in a YouTube video.

He said there is no need to worry as the players, who contracted virus, are young and will not take much time to recover. “They are young and brave. Their immune system is also very strong. I hope they’ll defeat the virus and recover very soon. They may fly to England later on as there is enough time for the T20 series to take place. But the thing is that these players will have to spend 28 days in quarantine now – 14 days in Pakistan and as many in England.”

He said the ECB would have to review policy and issue visas to players on arrival. “Usually, the visas are not issued on arrival but I feel both the boards will have to sign some MoUs for that.”

He said previously some people were critical of the 29-member extended Pakistan squad, but now they would also have to change their opinion. He said similarly people, who were pressing to hold T20 World Cup in New Zealand or at some other venue, would also have to change their opinion now. “After these 10 players contracted the virus, the chapter to hold World Cup during the ongoing year has totally been closed.”

Basit said that now the BCCI would also not make a hasty decision to hold Indian Premier League (IPL). “The BCCI will take some time to make a decision. Probably, they will take decision after July, but it is certain that both the IPL and Pakistan’s tour to England will take place [this year].”

According to Basit, the PCB should also go for second Tests of the players from some other laboratory. “The results may be different as I’m not ready to believe in the first tests.” Haider Ail, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan showed no symptoms before testing positive on Sunday. They were joined by Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, M Hafeez, M Hasnain, M Rizwan and Wahab Riaz, along with team masseur Malang Ali, after further tests were carried out on Monday.

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