Shoaib Malik to miss first four weeks of training in England to see his family
The rest of squad will leave for Manchester on June 28, with Malik joining them on July 24
Shoaib Malik has been given special permission to skip the first four weeks of Pakistan's training in England in order to meet his family. According to the PCB, Malik hasn't been with his wife Sania Mirza and their son - who are in India - for five months due to suspended flights in the wake of Covid-19.
The 28 other Pakistan players will leave for Manchester on June 28, with Malik joining them on July 24.
Malik, who is based in Sialkot, was with the Peshawar Zalmi squad in the Pakistan Super League before the tournament was suspended in March. Since then he is in Pakistan, while his wife and their one-year-old son are in Hyderabad in India. With limited flights in operation, it's not yet clear where Malik and his family will reconnect but it is more likely to be in Dubai.
"Unlike the rest of us, Shoaib Malik has not seen his immediate family for nearly five months due to his commitments and the subsequent international travel bans following the Covid-19 pandemic," PCB CEO Wasim Khan said in a statement. "As travel restrictions are now slowly easing out and there is an opportunity for a family reunion, it is appropriate that at a human level we show compassion as part of our duty of care and respect Shoaib's request."
The main reason behind reaching England five weeks ahead of the series is to comply with the UK government's policy that those arriving from outside the country will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period. While Malik is not travelling with the rest of the squad, he will have to adhere to the same policy.
"We have spoken with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which understands the situation and has agreed to make an exception by helping Shoaib enter the country on July 24," Khan said. "Of course, before integrating with the side, Shoaib will follow the UK government's policies on visitors entering the country."
The Pakistan team will stay in Derbyshire for the quarantine period during which they will be allowed to train and practise. They will also be playing intra-squad practice games because of the non-availability of local teams as the ECB is yet to commence its domestic season.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent