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Monday, July 06, 2020

Pakistan team would be better off in England than at home: Michael Holding

As many as 10 out of the 29 England-bound Pakistan cricketers have tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus but boards from both the countries insisted on Tuesday that the tour remains "very much on track".

By: PTI | Published: June 24, 2020 6:20:00 pm
Pakistan cricket team would be “better off” touring England belives Holding.

West Indies pace legend Michael Holding feels that Pakistan cricket team would be “better off” touring England rather than staying put in their own country considering the spurt in COVID-19 cases there.

As many as 10 out of the 29 England-bound Pakistan cricketers have tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus but boards from both the countries insisted on Tuesday that the tour remains “very much on track”.

“Well, it would seem that England are safer than whatever is happening in Pakistan right now,” Holding said during his YouTube show ‘Mikey – Holding Nothing Back.

“They (Pakistan team) are perhaps better off coming to England as opposed to staying in Pakistan because it is even worse there. Once they get to England, they will be in a bio-secure area,” he added.

Pakistan are scheduled to leave for the UK on June 28 to play three Tests and as many T20 Internationals starting in August.

A day after the Pakistan Cricket Board found him positive for the deadly virus, former captain Mohammed Hafeez claimed he has tested negative.

One of the game’s finest fast bowlers, Holding spoke about the easing of restrictions in the UK, an indication that things are getting better there gradually.

“They will be reducing the six feet apart rule that was being insisted on, bringing it down to three feet or one meter apart. Things are getting a little bit easier there.

“Once they (Pakistan team) arrive, they will have to do their two weeks of quarantine as I am doing at the moment. They will be moved to a bio-secure area to make sure they are not infected. They should be ok from there on,” Holding said.

Holding, however, said the people of England would not be at fault if they are having problem with the Pakistan team visiting their country.

“If anyone should say that the tour should not go ahead, it should be the ECB or the people here in England because Pakistan is among the top countries in terms of positive tests,” he said.

“I don’t think there is much chance of getting it once they get here as we have seen with the West Indies team.”

The West Indies team is yet to face any health realted issues since they arrived in the United Kingdom.

“They haven’t had any problems since they arrived. If anyone had the virus it would have shown up by now.

“So people that think the Pakistan team should not come here are probably thinking more about the England team rather than their own,” he added.

Our batsmen have to ensure they’re sharp and ready to go in first Test: Simmons

Manchester, Jun 24 (PTI) Urging his team to rid itself of the habit of playing catch-up, West Indies coach Phil Simmons has put the onus on his batsmen to score runs first up and grab the advantage in the Test series against England.

West Indies are chasing their first series win in England in 32 years.

Batting has been an area of concern for West Indies but Simmons said “most of the senior batsmen are seasoned players” and hoped they will be ready when the first ball is bowled at Southampton on July 8.

“Mentally I think they’re tough, but I think we just need to continue working on our skills because I think when you look back at Kraigg (Brathwaite), Roston (Chase) and Shai (Hope), they’re mentally tough because they’ve done it at this level, so it’s about making sure they’re sharp and ready to go in the first game,” Simmons told reporters in a video conference.

During their last tour of England three years ago, West Indies were bowled out within 200 in each innings, suffering an embarrassing innings and 209-run defeat at Edgbaston.

“We’ve had occasions when we’ve toured and only after the first game we start really playing cricket, so it’s something we’re trying to get out of our system and make sure we are ready and raring to go when we get to Southampton.”

They levelled the series 1-1 after winning the second match at Leeds but suffered a nine-wicket defeat at Lord’s in the final Test.

Simmons said they have stepped up their preparation with just two weeks left for the series.

“It’s only two weeks before the first Test match and preparation has to go to the next level, so we’ve started that today,” he said. PTI

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