Ashley Giles confident Pakistan will tour England despite players contracting coronavirus
"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"
Last Updated: 23/06/20 3:19pm
Ashley Giles remains confident Pakistan's tour of England will go ahead despite the tourists' squad being hit by coronavirus.
Ten players from Pakistan's 29-man party have tested positive for Covid-19 - Shadab Khan, Haider Ali and Haris Rauf on Monday, and Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz on Tuesday.
Giles - speaking before the latest batch of seven positive tests was announced - said he still expected Pakistan to arrive for three Tests and as many T20 internationals in August and September.
"It is a concern - and we are most concerned about the welfare of those players who have tested positive," Giles, England's managing director of men's cricket, told reporters via Zoom.
"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 seen a sharp rise in coronavirus infections over the last few weeks, with the country currently having around 185,000 confirmed cases.
"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. Anything that puts that at risk is clearly a problem," added former England spinner Giles.
"All of this has uncertainty still as we know how fastmoving 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.
"There are a number of hurdles to cross but we are hopeful that if we can get international sport on, it will be a fillip for people around the world."
The sides will then travel to Emirates Old Trafford for the final two Tests, with both stadiums selected as bio-secure venues due to their on-site hotels and medical testing facilities.
The series against West Indies has been named #raisethebat as a tribute to those working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic, with England to wear the names of key workers on their training tops ahead of day one of the first Test in Southampton.