Pak contingent set to leave isolation following negative Covid-19 tests

The Pakistan men’s cricket team, which is currently in managed isolation in Christchurch, is now all set to come out of it and train, health ministry permitting.

All members of the Pakistan touring party have returned negative results in their fifth and final round of Covid-19 testing on Day 12 of their managed isolation. They will leave the isolation on Tuesday and travel to Queenstown.

“The Pakistan squad’s fifth and final day 12, Covid-19 tests have all been returned as negative. As a consequence, and pending final Ministry of Health approval, the squad will leave managed isolation tomorrow,” New Zealand Cricket said in a statement on Monday.

“The squad will fly to Queenstown, where they will train ahead of the T20I and Test series against the Black Caps.

“The member of the Pakistan squad who tested positive on Day 6 will remain in managed isolation until departing, negative tests permitting,” it added.

The Pakistan cricket squad, comprising support staff, arrived in New Zealand on November 24 for three T20Is and two-Test series against the Black Caps. 10 members of the touring side have so far tested positive to Covid-19.

The visitors had their training privileges taken away and subsequently not restored despite repeated requests, and all that has affected the players’ mental and physical health, said Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-haq.

“Top professional athletes require a certain environment to prepare so that they can perform at the minimum expected levels every time they represent their countries. While we completely respect and understand the New Zealand Government Laws, which have been put in place for the health and safety of their public, there is no denying the fact that the implementation of certain regulations has affected our athletes, both mentally and physically prior to an international series,” Misbah was quoted as saying in a PCB media release.

“I want to compliment my players and the management team for their patience, sacrifices and the hardships they have endured to ensure they not only lead the safe resumption of international cricket during the Covid-19 pandemic since the series in England but also try to give their best every time they step on the field,” he added.

The Pakistan team are due to open their tour with the first T20I set to be played at Auckland’s Eden Park on December 18.