The Pakistan Cricket Board is planning to send a squad of 30 players for the twin tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe as a safety measure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (More Cricket News)
According to a well-informed source the board will also be sending the players and officials to South Africa on a chartered flight instead of a commercial flight as it doesn't want to take any chances after the virus hit the Pakistan Super League 6 had to be postponed.
"The board has also learnt from the experience of sending the players and support staff via a commercial flight to New Zealand last year when around 8 to 10 players and staff ended up testing positive and led to the entire team being quarantined for 14-days in Christchurch," he said.
The source disclosed that the problem facing the PCB were the extra expenses that will be incurred on the chartered flight as well as on the lodging and other expenses of the Test specialist players in the squad.
No Test matches are scheduled against South Africa as Pakistan play three ODIs and four T20 internationals against them, but on the second leg of the tour in Zimbabwe, Pakistan will play two Tests and three T20 matches.
"The PCB has held talks with the South African board over how the extra players would be managed in a bio secure bubble in South Africa as the board wants them to be with the team from the start for the test series in Zimbabwe to avoid any hassles over Covid-19 protocols."
The source added that the PCB has requested Cricket South Africa to include the test specialist players in the bio-secure bubble.
The national selectors are expected to announce a 30-member squad for the twin tours on 10th March after which the players will undergo training at the high performance centre in Lahore before they depart for Johannesburg on 27th March.
"The players and support staff will all undergo isolation periods and continuous COVID-19 tests in Lahore before they take the chartered flight," he said.
South Africa and Zimbabwe have also been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and last year England abandoned a white ball series after positive cases emerged from the camp.