Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik passed fit to play semi-final against Australia
The two had missed training on Wednesday after coming down with "light flu and low fever"
Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik have been declared fit by Pakistan's medical team to take part in the T20 World Cup semi-final game against Australia in Dubai on Thursday, after they had stayed away from training on the eve of the game with mild flu and fever.
The two, both first XI regulars at the tournament for Pakistan, have tested negative for Covid-19 twice in three days. Both woke up on Wednesday morning with what a team official described as "light flu and low fever", and were advised to stay back in the hotel and remain under observation. The rest of the squad members and support staff went ahead with their usual pre-game plans, including a full-fledged training session at the ICC Academy premises. ESPNcricinfo understands that all of them had cleared their regular Covid-19 tests throughout the tournament, including the last one a couple of days ago.
There was no Covid-19 scare in the team anyway, and it is understood that the team management had expected Rizwan and Malik to be available for the game. Despite that, medical professionals travelling with the team continued to assess them at regular intervals through Wednesday and Thursday.
Both players, especially Rizwan, have been key to Pakistan's plans and performances in the tournament so far, where they have run up a 5-0 record, having swept the Group 2 matches on their way to the semi-final.
Rizwan, one half of a tremendous opening pairing with captain Babar Azam, has scored 214 runs in five innings so far, his runs coming at an average of 71.33 and a strike rate of 127.38. Earlier in the tournament, he also went past Chris Gayle's record of most T20 runs in a calendar year; he now has 1676 runs in 2021, at an average of 57.79 at a strike rate of 132.59.
Malik, who got into the squad as a late replacement for the injured Sohaib Maqsood, didn't have too big a role to play with the bat in the first few games, but he starred in Pakistan's win over Scotland in the last group match with an 18-ball 54*.
Pakistan have so far fielded the same playing XI in all their matches. With Rizwan and Malik now available for selection, they could well do the same in the knockout fixture too.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent