Naseem Shah tests Covid-19 positive, will not feature in remainder of England T20Is

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Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah has tested positive for Covid-19, one day after it was announced he had contracted pneumonia. He has, however, been released from hospital, and the PCB said he was “feeling better.”

Naseem is the second person in the Pakistan camp during the current series against England to have contracted Covid-19, a week after an unnamed member of the Pakistan support staff tested positive. On that occasion, the individual did not travel with the squad to the National Stadium Karachi for the second T20I, and there were no delays to the game.

Naseem spent Wednesday night in hospital after the pneumonia diagnosis, and the PCB announced their in-house medical panel was monitoring him. That, followed by the positive Covid-19 test, effectively rules him out of the final two games of the ongoing series against England, and leaves him a significant doubt for the forthcoming tour of New Zealand, which is due to get underway in Christchurch on October 7 as preparation for the World Cup.

The Pakistan squad leaves for New Zealand on October 3 to play a T20I tri-series also featuring Bangladesh, with the final on October 14. They then depart for Australia for the World Cup, where, after a pair of warm-ups – including one against England – they play their first group game in Melbourne on October 23 against India.

Naseem featured in the first match of the current series against England, and also played a full part in the recently concluded Asia Cup. In the absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is also currently ruled out with injury, he had taken over the left-armer’s responsibility up top as Pakistan’s premier new-ball bowler.

Afridi, who has been undergoing treatment in London for a knee injury, is expected to be available for Pakistan for the World Cup.

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