The Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to send its senior team to England for Tests and T20I series after a comprehensive meeting with the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Speaking to Sportstar on Saturday, PCB CEO Wasim Khan said, “The ECB gave us a thorough idea about the health and safety measures and the PCB is satisfied with it. We have agreed in principle to send the team. The safety of the players, however, will be of utmost importance,” Khan said.
A squad of 25 players will travel to England in a chartered flight, assured by the ECB, in the last week of July. “We will follow the guidelines of the government. There is still some time and we will monitor the situation over the weeks,” Khan said.
The team will fly together as separate travel arrangements could challenge the logistics. “We will be playing Tests and T20Is, so we have decided to have a bigger squad strength,” said Khan, adding that the matches will be played across two venues.
“There will be a third venue, which will be exclusively for Pakistan team’s practice,” he said. The matches are likely to be held in Manchester and Southampton though there is no official announcement yet. Birmingham could be the third ‘training only’ venue.
Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief executive officer Wasim Khan. – Getty Images
Manchester and Southampton have star hotels in its premises, so the players need not travel out of the complex. “The West Indies team is scheduled to travel to England a few weeks before us, so that tour will give us a better idea (of the venues),” Khan said.
However, the PCB has decided to give the players an option to ‘opt out’ of the tour if they want. “We will definitely not force any players to travel to England. We understand that even the players and their families are worried about the whole situation. We will brief the players sometime next week and explain the entire situation,” Khan said.
Over the next few weeks, the medical staff of both ECB and PCB will be in touch. “The medical teams will have regular conversations. We will also be in touch with the medical teams of West Indies and take their inputs,” he said.
The PCB will seek government’s guidelines for the proposed tour. “At this point of time, the players and all the stakeholders need to be given that confidence,” said Khan.