ISLAMABAD: South Africa-bound Pakistan cricketers and support staff will be undergoing four Covid-19 tests before their departure to play two limited-overs series against the hosts starting with the opening One-Dayer on April 2 in Pretoria.
The first Covid-19 test will be carried out on March 16 as every member of the 35-member squad will be required to undergo the test before leaving home. “All the members of the squad will only leave their houses once they are tested negative. Upon their arrival for the short training camp in Lahore, the players as well as support staff will be tested again for Covid-19 on March 18,” an official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.
The PCB is planning to hold a short training camp from March 19 at the National Centre for Excellence where the selected players will be tuned up for the series against south Africa.
“The third Covid-19 testing will be held on March 21 followed by the fourth and final test two days ahead of the team’s departure. The squad is set to leave for South Africa on March 26. Besides these tests, the visiting squad will also undergo testing procedure already planned by the hosts upon team’s arrival in South Africa. Once the players and officials arrive in Lahore, they will become part of the strict bio-secure bubble.”
All the players who are part of the limited-overs teams will fly to South Africa on March 26 while ten players meant for the Test series are expected to depart later.
“Ten cricketers, who are to figure in the series against Zimbabwe, will be departing for South Africa on April 12 to join other members of the team. We are waiting for the announcement of final dates of Test and T20 series to be played in Zimbabwe. We are in touch with Zimbabwe Cricket and hopefully would be receiving the schedule anytime now,” the official added.
Meanwhile, ten players for the Test series will continue their training in Pakistan before their departure. “These players will have to go through the same testing procedure before their departure.”
A chartered flight will take Pakistan cricketers from South Africa to Zimbabwe for T20 and Test series. “Since the Emirates Airlines have already put their flights to Harare on hold, we have made the arrangements for a special flight from South Africa to Harare and then from Zimbabwe to Lahore after the end of the tour. Special arrangements were needed keeping in view the safety of the players and officials.