The PCB came under intense pressure in deciding whether to send its team to England or not after 10 players tested positive for Covid-19, but eventually went ahead with the tour to help with the resumption of the game amid the pandemic, CEO Wasim Khan has said.
Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain and Kashif Bhatti were among those who tested positive in the first round of testing ahead of the tour. Some of these players subsequently cleared a second or later test and joined the rest of the squad in England.
Pakistan play a three-match Test series against England starting on August 5, followed by three T20Is.
"The Board was under pressure when so many players' tests came positive. Thus sending the cricket team to England during the coronavirus pandemic was quite a tough decision," Wasim Khan was quoted as saying by Pakistani channel Geo News. "We kept to our plan to go ahead with the tour because we had in the first place decided to send the team to play our important part in the restoration of world cricket, and to keep it on track it is imperative to continue with matches."
Khan also said that "cricket and Covid-19 will have to co-exist".
He said the PCB also took into account that West Indies proceeded with their tour of England despite the uncertainties. "Whenever we are asked regarding our decision to proceed with the tour to England, the same question should also be posed to the West Indies cricket team, which has also continued with scheduled matches," he said. "West Indies decided to go to England when the situation was quite worse over there [due to the pandemic]."