Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
Six of the ten Pakistani cricketers who had earlier tested positive for Covid-19 - Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Hasnain - have returned negative results when tested again, Wasim Khan, the PCB chief executive, announced on Saturday. He added that Kashif Bhatti, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali and Imran Khan had tested positive again, as had team masseur Malang Ali. All the players and support staffers who had tested negative earlier were also retested, and there was no change in their status.
However, given players' need to return two negative tests before being able to enter the UK, the six previously positive players will not be on the ECB-arranged charter plane that takes the rest of the travelling party to Manchester on Sunday. The PCB announced they will be sent as soon as they returned that second negative test.
There will be 20 players in the advance group: the 18 who have returned two negative tests, as well as two of the reserve players called up as cover earlier this week, wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir and fast bowler Musa Khan. One of the reserves, Imran Butt, returned a positive result. In addition, left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar, who is already in the UK, will join the side and only be involved in pre-match preparations.
Wasim said that Hafeez and Riaz had sought out tests from private laboratories independent of the PCB in the wake of them returning positive results. And though the retest came back negative, the board will not be considering them.
"The private test they decided to have carried out was outside the PCB testing process," Wasim said. "So while they have now had two negative tests, they will have to get tested again to get two negative tests in a row that are in accordance with PCB's testing process and the protocols we have set up."
Once the 20 players and 11 members of the support staff arrive in Manchester, they will be transported to Worcestershire, where everyone will be tested once more in accordance with the ECB guidelines and testing processes. They will then begin a 14-day quarantine period, during which they will be permitted access to training and practice facilities. Following that, the squad will move to Derbyshire. Although it wasn't set in stone, an earlier plan would have seen the Pakistan squad quarantined in Derby first.
Bowling coach Waqar Younis, who has been in Australia, was tested there and returned a negative result. He will join the squad directly. Shoaib Malik, who was granted leave to spend time with his family and join the team later, will travel to England on July 24.
The PCB had briefly entertained the idea of sending players who tested negative once after an earlier positive test, but that idea was swiftly put to bed, as an ECB press release on Friday confirmed that the ten players who had tested positive would not be traveling on Sunday.
"The ECB contacted us at first and said since the positive tests were carried out on the 21st, seven days will have lapsed and there may be an opportunity for players to travel on the 28th," Wasim said. "Because in nine of the 10 players, we found antibodies, which suggested they were coming to the end of it. But we changed it because the ECB have now told us that based on UK regulations, anybody to have tested positive will need to provide evidence that they have had two negative tests before they can travel. We went on the advice they were giving us earlier, but since they told us the regulations had changed, we followed their protocol."
The tour comprises three Test matches and three T20Is in August and September. All six games will be played behind closed doors.
England v Pakistan