Pakistan planning 'bio-secure' England tour, says Wasim Khan
Pakistan planned to send a 25-man squad to England in July to ensure they meet the demands of playing an entire tour in a 'bio-secure' environment.
The move, confirmed by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Wasim Khan, will raise hopes that England's summer schedule could still go ahead.
Pakistan are scheduled to play three tests in August followed by an equal number of Twenty20 Internationals, with the matches taking place behind closed doors as part of measures to combat COVID-19.
The England and Wales Cricket Board detailed the provisions they planned to implement for the tour in a presentation on Friday and Khan said the PCB were encouraged by the proposals.
"From that point of view, in principle, we are planning towards touring England," Khan said, adding the PCB would seek medical advice and government guidance before committing to the tour.
The UK government has outlined that elite sport is free to return in June without fans and England hope to begin their delayed summer of cricket with a Test series against West Indies in July.
Managing Director Ashley Giles sets out the ECB's plan for England's return to training but tells the Cricket Show it needs to be a 'slow and careful' process.
Under current rules, Pakistan will have to arrive almost a month before the first Test to undergo a two-week quarantine period mandatory for all visitors.
The Test and Twenty20 squads will travel together, which Khan believes will provide flexibility and give the team options in the event of injuries.
"From a manageability point of view, it makes sense for us and the ECB that the whole squad travels as one, so you create a bubble if you like around those players for the whole of the time that they are in England," Khan said, reported Sky Sports on Wednesday.
The ECB has not announced venues for the tour but it is thought that Manchester and Southampton, both with on-site hotels, would be obvious contenders to stage the matches.
Khan said venues would have testing centres and zones that would be off-limits to anyone other than players and officials.
These zones would separate the two teams, match officials, ground staff and the media, with movement between the zones strictly limited.
"They are planning to create bio-secure hotels, a sort of environment around the players in certain parts of the hotel to keep the players safe and away from the general public," Khan added.