Ashley Giles: Pakistan tour of England not in doubt despite positive coronavirus tests

Shadab Khan, Haider Ali and Haris Rauf were tested for coronavirus in Rawalpindi on Sunday

England director of cricket Ashley Giles does not believe Pakistan’s tour is in doubt despite three members of the visitors’ squad testing positive for coronavirus.

Pakistan are scheduled to fly to the UK on Monday for three Tests and three Twenty 20 matches this summer.

“We’re far enough away from the Test series to not worry about that too much at the moment,” said Giles.

“We’re still hopeful that Pakistan will be arriving fairly soon.”

Batsman Haider Ail, fast bowler Haris Rauf and leg-spinner Shadab Khan showed no symptoms before testing positive on Sunday and have now been told to self-isolate.

Almost all of the rest of the players and management staff had tests on Monday, with those results due on Tuesday.

“It’s a concern, and I’m most concerned about the players who have tested positive and their welfare,” added Giles, who played 54 Tests for England.

“There are some more test results coming out from the rest of the group, so we’ll see what that says.”

As of Tuesday morning, there had been 185,034 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pakistan, resulting in 3,695 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

England’s matches this summer, beginning with three Tests against West Indies, are set to be played behind closed doors in bio-secure environments at Southampton and Old Trafford.

England’s 30-man training group will arrive in Southampton on Tuesday to prepare for the series with the Windies, which starts on 8 July.

Giles continued: “The situation in Pakistan is not great at the moment and our thoughts go out to the whole country.

“All of this has uncertainty. We know how fast moving this has been around the world, so we have been very careful at every step. Do we really know what is around the corner? No.

“The bubble at Southampton and Old Trafford, we are trying to create environments that mitigate as much risk as we possibly can.”

Pakistan named a 29-man squad for the tour, with four additional players put on standby in case of positive coronavirus tests.

And Giles does not believe the tour would be placed in further jeopardy even if more positive tests are returned on Tuesday.

“We are still far enough out even if a number of those tests are still positive,” he said.

“There are a number of hurdles to cross. We’re hopeful that we can get international sport on it will be a real fillip for people around the world.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s two-Test tour of Bangladesh, which was scheduled for August, has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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