Mohammad Hafeez says he has tested negative for coronavirus after being one of 10 players who the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revealed to have contracted COVID-19.

On Tuesday the PCB said seven of its team members and a masseur had tested positive, with three others having been found to have the virus on Monday ahead of a scheduled tour to England.

However, on Wednesday Hafeez claimed he did not have coronavirus, tweeting a picture of a test result that showed he was negative.

The all-rounder said he and his family got the all-clear after seeking a second opinion.

England and Pakistan are due to play three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals from the end of July until September. 

The PCB said the latest players to test positive, aside from Hafeez, were Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz, along with masseur Malang Ali. 

In a statement, the PCB said its medical panel was "already in contact with these players and the masseur, who have been instructed to observe strict quarantine at their homes for their and their families' wellbeing". 

It remains to be seen if Hafeez's latest result will allow him to be free of the same quarantine restrictions.

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon could not resist a lighthearted quip when asked about the prospect of an unexpected Test series against Ashes rivals England.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the 2020 sporting calendar and cricket has not been spared the scheduling headache caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Test cricket is set to resume next month with a behind-closed-doors series between England and West Indies.

Pakistan are due to tour England for three Tests and three T20 internationals immediately after, but the confirmation of 10 positive tests for coronavirus among Misbah-ul-Haq's squad has led to concerns over those matches.

Officials said plans to play Pakistan remain on track but there have been some murmurings that Australia, who are due to feature in a rescheduled limited-overs tour of England in September, could be asked to play some red-ball cricket should the matches with Pakistan be curtailed.

Asked about that possibility, Lyon replied with a smile: "It just sounds like England want the Ashes back ASAP!"

Australia's own plans are up in the air, with uncertainty over August's home ODI series with Zimbabwe, while the T20 World Cup – which is slated to take place in the country across October and November – may yet be moved to early next year.

"I've got no idea when we're playing next or when potential tours are or anything," Lyon added.

"There's so many balls up in the air. I'm not qualified to be making any arrangements.

"We know something will come eventually. It's just about getting some really good preparation under our belt."

Lyon has another target in his sights for later in the year, namely gaining revenge on India for Australia's 2018-19 Test-series defeat on home soil.

It was the first time India had won a red-ball series in Australia and Lyon wants to make amends when Virat Kohli's side are back for four Tests, the first of which starts in December.

"You never like losing series or games of cricket for Australia," Lyon said.

"India a couple of years ago, they outplayed us. But we're looking forward to having those guys come here, it's getting up there to the pinnacle series alongside the Ashes.

"They've got a side full of superstars and it's going to be an amazing challenge this Australian summer when they get out here."

Half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope carried a Brathwaite XI team to 275 all out at stumps on day one of the West Indies’ three-day warm-up match against Jason Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Tuesday.

England's cricket stars have been urged to be careful about heading back to pubs and restaurants - with Ashley Giles warning they could be putting the planned schedule at risk. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said England will see a reopening of many drinking, eating and even entertainment establishments from July 4, and there may be a clamour to rekindle social lives. 

But with the coronavirus threat still present, there is no certainty such venues will be safe environments, even with social distancing measures in place. 

England are hosting West Indies and Pakistan in Test action in the coming months, they also play the latter in T20 cricket as well, plus have ODIs against Ireland and potentially limited-overs games against Australia to come. 

Former spin bowler Giles, now director of men's cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, said it was important to be aware of the possible perils of mixing socially. 

"We haven't talked about banning them, but what we'd ask them to be is sensible," Giles said. "They have been throughout the whole process. 

"They need to continue that, because if you come back into an environment and you haven't been adhering to the guidelines then you put everyone else and the series at risk." 

England will be living in bio-secure environments for large parts of their summer, but squads for each series could differ, and there may be factors that mean players have to temporarily leave camp. 

The opening matches see England face West Indies in three Tests, with the first played in Southampton before back-to-back fixtures at Old Trafford.  

"It'll be quite strange," Giles said. "We could be in a situation where we have a very secure bubble for the second and third Test matches of the series and the rest of the world is operating at a new normal, with restaurants and pubs open again. 

"Our main responsibility is to get this series on the road and keep everyone safe, especially including the West Indies team who've done so much to come here." 

With 10 Pakistan players having tested positive for coronavirus, it remains to be seen whether they and England can go ahead with their planned series, although both sides are intending to do so at present. 

A backstop option could see England invite Ireland to step into the breach. 

Giles says that is not currently being discussed, adding: "As with this situation throughout, we've had to be agile and adapt very quickly to different situations, all of us." 

When England are locked together in camp, Giles says it will be the responsibility of everyone to guard against missteps, and he is braced for mistakes to be made. 

"I think it would be down to all of us to police it. The players are aware of the seriousness of the situation," he told a news conference. 

"People are going to make mistakes. We all are. We're all going to get it wrong. 

"It will be weird. Anyone who thinks this is going to be a holiday camp is going to be seriously mistaken. 

"There could be an opportunity for some guys to play golf on a course next door. But apart from that there's two sessions of cricket a day; there's going to be a lot of work. 

"But inside, social distancing still, wearing of masks, probably spending a lot of time on your own isn't a lot of fun and I think it's a bit of a culture shock." 

Giles said he was "quietly confident" about Australia visiting later this year, albeit there was "some nervousness" on the part of their Ashes rivals. 

Seven Pakistan players and a team masseur have tested positive for coronavirus, but officials say plans to tour England remain "very much on track". 

The announcement of the positive results on Tuesday came a day after three others from Misbah-ul-Haq's squad were confirmed as having COVID-19. 

All 10 infected players have been ordered to self-isolate and will stay at home when the rest depart on a chartered flight, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said. 

England and Pakistan are due to play three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals from the end of July until September. 

The PCB said the latest seven players to test positive were Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz, along with masseur Malang Ali. 

In a statement, the PCB said its medical panel was "already in contact with these players and the masseur, who have been instructed to observe strict quarantine at their homes for their and their families' wellbeing". 

None showed any symptoms before being tested, the PCB added. They must each produce two negative test results before being allowed to travel to England to join up with the squad. 

Ashley Giles, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of men's cricket, had said the first three positive tests were "a concern". 

Players and staff who have tested negative will gather in Lahore on Wednesday before undergoing a further round of coronavirus testing on Thursday. More tests will be conducted by the ECB once the squad arrives in England. 

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said: "The tour to England is very much on track and the side will depart as per schedule on June 28. 

"Fortunately, all the first-choice red-ball squad, barring Mohammad Rizwan, are negative, which means they can start training and practicing immediately after they have been tested and given the all-clear when they arrive in England. 

"In the meantime, Misbah-ul-Haq is reviewing the training schedule in England and firming up plans for reserve players to be tested as a back-up."

Ashley Giles does not believe Pakistan's tour of England is in doubt despite three of the tourists' squad testing positive for coronavirus.

Fast bowler Haris Rauf, all-rounder Shadab Khan and uncapped teenage batsman Haider Ali were tested on Sunday in Rawalpindi and found to have COVID-19.

According to a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), all three have shown no symptoms and were advised to immediately enter isolation.

Another 23 players from the 29-man squad are due to receive test results on Tuesday, with Usman Shinwari and Imad Wasim having already returned negative tests and Shoaib Malik SET to join up with the squad at a later date after being given permission to spend time with his family.

Giles says the positive tests are undeniably a concern but is confident the tour, which is due to see three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals take place from the end of July until September, will go ahead as planned.

"It is a concern – and we are most concerned about the welfare of those players who have tested positive," said Giles, who is managing director of men's cricket for England.

"At the moment, I don't think the series is in doubt. We are far enough away from the start of the Test series to be too worried and we are still hopeful the Pakistan team will be arriving in the country fairly soon.

"We are still waiting on the other test results but I think we are still far enough out even if a number of those results were positive."

Pakistan has recorded a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, with 3,946 more confirmed on Tuesday, taking the total number to just over 185,000. Nearly 3,700 people to test positive for coronavirus have died.

"The situation in Pakistan is not great at the moment and our thoughts go out to the whole country, so clearly it's important we get the team in the country and we can get on with our series," Giles said. "Anything that puts that at risk is clearly a problem.

"All of this has uncertainty still as we know how fast-moving the situation has been around the world. We have been very careful at every step, but do we really know what's around the corner? No.

"This is such a global and far-reaching issue and is affecting everyone and there are far more important things going on than sport.

"But we are hopeful that if we can get international sport on it will be a fillip for people around the world."

With 390 Test wickets under his belt from 101 matches, Makhaya Ntini was one of South Africa’s greatest bowlers.

West Indies vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite will get an opportunity to test the mettle of his leadership against his skipper when the two face-off in a three-day practice game inside Emirates Old Trafford in the morning.

The absences of Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo on the West Indies tour of England are still causing a few headaches for the structure of the team, with head coach Phil Simmons yet to decide on what is the best line-up ahead of the first game which begins July 8.

The West Indies are playing in the first bio-secure Test series since the COVID-19 pandemic impacted sports worldwide and Hetmyer, Bravo and Keemo Paul decided against touring England on the back of health concerns.

The absence of the trio means there are questions about how the team will line up but head coach Phil Simmons, speaking during a press conference this morning, believes the answers are to be found in the next few practice games.

According to the coach, who was responding to questions about the batting positions of skipper Jason Holder and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich when the three-Test series begins at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, the options are numerous.

“We have thought about quite a few things. The three-day game which starts tomorrow and then the four-day game will help us to decide how we structure the batting,” said Simmons.

“So there are possibilities in different directions. Jason could bat six, Dowrich could bat six, so we look at the three-day game and the four-day game and then make a decision from there,” he said.

There are also places to be considered with the returning Jermaine Blackwood to the batting line-up along with the likes Shamarh Brooks and Nkrumah Bonner and where they bat, if at all, in the new-look line-up.

The West Indies will play a three-day match game at their Emirates Old Trafford base beginning tomorrow, June 23, before a four-day encounter beginning on June 29.

 

Test Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach

 

Reserve Players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican

West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel will get a runout to see where his fitness is as the West Indies go into the first practice game of their England tour.

With a disastrous run of scores - 4, 5, 0, 0, 1 and 14 - during the West Indies’ tour of England in 2017, Shane Dowrich would have returned to the Caribbean a broken man, low on confidence.

England might boast the likes of Barbadian-born pace bowler Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and James Anderson but according to West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich, he likes his team’s bowling attack just fine.

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realise that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT.

NBA Ball or no ball?

With the 2019/2020 NBA season set to resume on July 31, there are divergent views regarding the restart. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has been vocal about his opposition and says attention should be placed on resolving the systemic racial injustice and inequality which divide Americans. He has received support from Lakers Centre Dwight Howard along with many others, citing there are more important things than basketball.

By contrast, Lakers star LeBron has reportedly spoken about the need to get the season going again and this has been endorsed by his teammate Patrick Beverly who tweeted, “If the King says he is hooping, we are all hooping.” Most news sources have reported that LeBron wants to continue to play while also being a voice for social change.

In my opinion, change isn’t confined to one path. Daily media coverage fed to millions of sports-starved fans can be an even stronger vehicle for their message. The players can use their power and resources to effect change. Refusing to play will undermine all the hard work that black men and women did to stamp their legacy on the sport. Why not get the best of both worlds? Play and effect change!

 

Kraigg Braithwaite. Is he ready?

Sports overall is unforgiving because of its competitive nature. Selectors and fans demand results. Windies opener Kraigg Braithwaite has been under serious scrutiny and criticism because of his inability to contribute with the bat in the last few Tests. However, I will not judge the 27-year-old; just yet.
With a Test average of 33 and a top score of 212, I have time for him. In his recent press conference, he explained that he has been doing remedial work with coach Desmond Haynes. He stressed the importance of his mindset and confidence. In addition, I think opening the batting with John Campbell is also a plus as both players have a history that dates back to the Under 15 days. I think once Kraig applies himself, he can be a destructive batting force. It’s all up to him and the clock is ticking.

 

Marcus Rashford beats the UK government with a fast-footed appeal

A U-turn that was welcomed whole-heartedly by me since this is a cause that is remarkably close to my heart because of my love for children. Due to Rashford’s selflessness, approximately 1.3 million children will benefit from the free school meal vouchers for the six-week holiday period. It is a gesture that may appear a simple act of kindness but it will touch the lives of children and in turn affect their upbringing.

Rashford's act paints footballers in a positive light. It reiterates that the 22-year-old ManU forward has his heart in the right place while highlighting the extent of power that public figures have and how they can use their millions of Twitter followers to effect change.

 

Royal Ascot 2020: No fanfare but pure quality

The 2020 presentation of the Royal Ascot had no fans, no fanfare, no fancy dresses, and no hats but the quality of the races compensated. It has only been the first week and Jim Crowley has cupped 5 wins. James Doyle is also making his mark winning the Prince of Wales Stakes. The most exciting of them all he was the Windsor Castle Stakes that he won for the Queen with Tactical. The Queen’s first win since 2016.

Personally, the highlight for me was when Record-breaking rider Hollie Doyle claimed her first Royal Ascot success with a last-gasp triumph aboard Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes. She enjoyed a stellar 2019, riding 116 winners – more in a calendar year than any other female jockey, becoming only the third woman to reach a century after Hayley Turner and Josephine Gordon.

Hollie has set the stage for all women looking on to feel confident to excel in what was originally deemed a sport for men.  The manner in with she kept her cool and managed to weave a passage between horses to pick up the win is an enormously proud moment that should be celebrated.

 

Fake crowd noise, does it make a difference?

The return of the Premier League during the Covid-19 pandemic has been different. Initially, I was sceptical about having no fans and people being replaced by artificial sounds. However, it has turned out better than I expected.

The lack of crowd means their needs to be intense concentration by those operating the systems and generating the reactions to ensure fans feel involved like before.

Also, the most noticeable aspect of crowd-free football is that everyone hears everything. That may be true inside the stadium, though even with the crowd noise muted, not much came over the television. Who needs people inside the ground when you can create your own atmosphere?

 

Cricket West Indies today saluted the heroes of the famous Cricket World Cup triumphs of 1975 and 1979.

Today, June 21 marks 45 years since the West Indies won the inaugural World Cup at Lords.

In that famous match, they defeated Australia by 17 runs and Sir Clive Lloyd had the honour of being the first man to lift the coveted trophy.

On June 23, 1979, Lloyd again hoisted the treasured prize as West Indies beat England by 92 runs at the historic venue.

“This particular World Cup victory by Sir Clive Lloyd and his legendary teammates brought a great deal of pride and esteem to thousands of West Indians everywhere. That is why such proud memories of our past glory on the cricket field will never die. I join in celebration of this special anniversary with all those who truly love West Indies cricket,” said CWI Ricky Skerritt.

In the 1975 final, Lloyd made a glorious century to earn the Man-of-the-Match award.

He shared a century stand with Rohan Kanhai, who made an invaluable 55. The West Indies were outstanding with the ball and in the outfield. Keith Boyce took four wickets and there were five run-outs – three by Sir Vivian Richards – as they played unbeaten throughout the tournament and lifted the inaugural Cricket World Cup.

Four years later Sir Viv put on a batting masterclass with a majestic 138 not out – one of the finest innings in ODI history. He was joined by Collis King, who scored 86 off just 66 balls in a memorable display of batting. Joel Garner then took five wickets to bring more glory to the all-conquering West Indies and to win at Lord’s, the home of cricket, was another remarkable achievement.

 “Today is a memorable day for me and the members of the team which won that first World Cup back in 1975. It was one of the greatest days of my life. To see the way we performed – we played unbeaten throughout the entire tournament – and win at Lords was something remarkable," said Sir Clive Lloyd. "Our victories in those two World Cup finals were a celebration of West Indies cricket and the many people who turned up to see us lift the cup.

“We were the best sports team in the world, no one could beat us. We were admired everywhere we went. The Caribbean has produced some truly great people in several fields of endeavour and we formed part of that, we were the symbol of sporting success. Our victories were for the many supporters who we represented. It wasn’t just for us as players, our victories touched many people all across the world.”

Winning World Cup squad from 1975 and 1979 below:

1975: Sir Clive Lloyd (captain), Keith Boyce, Roy Fredericks; Maurice Foster, Lance Gibbs, Sir Gordon Greenidge, Vanburn Holder, Bernard Julien, Alvin Kallicharran, Rohan Kanhai, Collis King, Deryck Murray, Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Viv Richards; Sir Clyde Walcott (manager)

1979: Sir Clive Lloyd (captain), Faoud Bacchus, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Larry Gomes, Sir Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Michael Holding, Alvin Kallicharran, Collis King, Malcolm Marshall, Deryck Murray, Sir Viv Richards, Sir Andy Roberts; Sir Clyde Walcott (manager)

 List of West Indies global cricket titles

June 21, 1975: Cricket World Cup – beat Australia at Lord’s, London

June 23, 1979: Cricket World Cup – beat England at Lord’s, London

September 25, 2004: ICC Champions Trophy – beat England at the Oval, London

October 7, 2012: ICC T20 World Cup – beat Sri Lanka at Premadasa Stadium, Colombo

February 14, 2016: ICC Under-19 World Cup – beat India at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Dhaka

April 3, 2016: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – beat Australia at Eden Gardens, Kolkata

April 3, 2016: ICC T20 World Cup – beat England at Eden Gardens, Kolkata

 

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