Shoaib to meet Sania & kid before joining team in England

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has allowed veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik to join the team in England on July 24 after spending time with his immediate family, whom he has not seen for nearly five months.

Shoaib’s wife, Sania Mirza and one-year-old son Izhaan, have been in India, while the Pakistan all-rounder has been in Sialkot since the imposition of international travel ban due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the travel ban, Shoaib was involved for Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League, which commenced on February 20 before it was suspended on March 17.

“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 Chief Executive Wasim Khan said as per a board’s media release.

“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.

“We have spoken with the England and Wales Cricket Board who understand the situation and have agreed to make an exception by helping Shoaib enter the country on July 24. Of course, Shoaib will follow the UK government’s policies on visitors entering the country before integrating with the side.”

The Pakistan team is scheduled to depart on June 28 for Manchester, before driving to Derbyshire for their 14-day quarantine period during which they will be allowed to train and practice.

Apart from training and practicing, there will be intra-squad matches to compensate for the lack of practice matches due to non-availability of local teams as the ECB is yet to commence its domestic season.