The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will seek government clearance before setting up a training camp for its players to prepare for the tour of England in July amid the rising threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Top PCB officials are busy formulating a plan to make the training camp possible at a time when the cases and deaths from COVID-19 are on the rise in Pakistan.
“Different plans are being looked at but the most important thing is that the board will have to get the final nod from the government before it goes ahead with the tour to England or even the training camp,” an official in the board said.
The High Performance Centre in Lahore where the board is planning to keep the players and officials does not have the capacity to house 20 players at one time and this is causing a big problem for the officials.
“Head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq understandably wants at least 25 players in the training camp and a list is being finalised but before it is announced the board wants to create a proper bio-secure environment at the high performance centre so that everyone is safe from COVID-19,” the official said.
The players and officials, once they move into the high performance centre, will not be allowed to go out or meet anyone including their family members because of the bio-security measures.
A reliable source in the board said some players had told Misbah that they would prefer to have a short training camp in Lahore.
“Some players are reluctant to stay away for a three-week period in Lahore and then again for more than two months in the UK,” the source said.
The board has said that it has left it on the players to decide whether they want to tour England or not and if anyone makes himself unavailable, there will not be any disciplinary action.
Pakistan’s former Test captain and batting great Javed Miandad has expressed apprehensions over the plan to tour England in the present situation.
“I would be worried because the COVID-19 situation in the UK is worse than what it is in Pakistan. I just hope the board examines everything before sending the team to England because it would be a huge risk for the players,” Miandad said.
Pakistan has reported more than 85,000 cases so far, while the count in the UK has crossed 2.70 lakh.