New Zealand tour: Pakistan squad clears final COVID-19 test
All the members of the Pakistan cricket team in New Zealand have returned negative for COVID-19 in the latest round of testing. The squad is set to move out of the managed isolation and commence training after getting approval from New Zealand's Ministry of Health. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed the development through an official statement. Here is more on the same.
Here is what NZC said in the statement. "This is to advise the Pakistan squad's fifth and final COVID-19 tests have all been returned as negative. As a consequence, and pending final Ministry of Health approval, the squad will leave managed isolation tomorrow and fly to Queenstown, where they will train ahead of the T20I and Test series," it read.
Recently, the team was denied permission to train after New Zealand's Director General of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, said he has a number of concerns. His statement came after eight members of Pakistan squad tested positive for COVID-19. As there are no new cases, Pakistan will be allowed to train in Queenstown if they receive the permission from the Health Ministry.
Considering the restrictions, Pakistan head coach, Misbah-ul-Haq, said that lack of training has impacted the players. "Top professional athletes require a certain environment to prepare so that they can perform at the minimum expected levels every time they represent their countries. The implementation of certain regulations has affected our athletes, both mentally and physically prior to an international series," he stated.
As per the official schedule, the tour will officially kick-off with the three-match T20I series on December 18. The final two T20Is will be played on December 20 and 22 respectively. A two-Test series will follow the T20Is (December 26 to January 7).
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently announced an 18-member squad for the impending T20I series. Pakistan's T20I squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz.