WELLINGTON: Six members of the Pakistan cricket squad have tested positive for the coronavirus while in managed isolation in Christchurch, New Zealand Cricket said on Thursday.
Plans for Pakistan’s upcoming T20 and Test series against New Zealand have been thrown into chaos, with six team members moved into quarantine and the team’s exemption to train while in isolation temporarily revoked.
The green shirts are due to play three T20 internationals and two tests from December 18, while a Pakistan ‘A’ tour will also be held concurrently.
The health ministry said all 53 members of the travelling party, including players and staff, were tested on arrival on November 24 and the positive results are from those tests.
NZC said in a statement all of the players in the squad had tested negative four times before leaving Lahore. Two of the six results were ‘historical’ infections while four were new.
NZC added that they had been made aware members of the Pakistan squad may have breached strict biosecurity protocols on their first day of their 14-day mandatory isolation.
As part of measures to prevent Covid-19 from being brought into the country, the team were not allowed to socialise, eat or train together outside their small bubbles while in isolation.
The touring West Indies side also fell foul of the regulations earlier this month and had their training exemption revoked.
“We will be having discussions with the tourists to assist them in understanding the requirements,” NZC said.
“While this is disappointing for the Pakistan squad, the testing outcomes and the actions taken show the government system is working.
“NZC considers public health and safety to be paramount in the hosting of international teams, and is supportive of the Ministry of Health and government position.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Khan was told by the New Zealand government that one more breach of New Zealand’s Covid-19 protocols by the Pakistan squad would result in the entire travelling party being deported, ESPNcricinfo reported.
In a WhatsApp voice message to the travelling players, the PCB CEO addressed his players candidly, telling them being sent back home would be “hugely embarrassing”.
“Boys, I spoke to the New Zealand government and they told us there were three or four breaches of protocols,” Wasim Khan said in the voice note. “They have a zero-tolerance policy and they’ve given us a final warning. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and you went through similar conditions in England. It’s not easy. But this is a matter of the nation’s respect and credibility. Observe these 14 days and then you’ll have the freedom to go to restaurants and roam about freely. They have told me in clear terms that if we commit one more breach, they’ll send us home.”