30 players were supposed to take part in the training camp
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 Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided not to hold a training camp of the national men’s team prior to their departure for England.
The PCB is already in discussions with the ECB to bring forward their early July departure date for England so the Pakistan squad can benefit from the additional practice time there.
The PCB, meanwhile, has reminded the players to 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 and that of their families remains paramount.
30 players were supposed to gather in Lahore for training, however only 25 to 27 of the involved players were expected to depart for the tour.
The PCB faced an uphill challenge of providing a ‘bio-secure’ environment at the NCA in Lahore for the training camps.
The facility does not have the ability to facilitate 30 cricketers while simultaneously ensuring they are kept apart.
Even if a virus-free environment was established, allowing the players to go back home after each session would have proved to be a dangerous element. The PCB would have also needed to take the government into confidence if lockdown policies were changed.
England is hopeful that the ‘bio-secure’ environment can pave the way for the return of cricket. West Indies and Pakistan have agreed to tour the country in July and August respectively. Both teams will arrive ahead of time and will be kept in quarantine.
England has selected those venues for the series, where the hotels are close to the ground so that travel can be restricted.