Amir inducted in Pakistan squad, Malik in doubt

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Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Amir (L) shares a light moment with teammate Shoaib Malik during a team practice session in Lahore on January 6, 2016. Pakistans cricket team leave on January 10 for New Zealand to play three Twenty20 matches and three One Day Internationals. AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI

While paceman Mohammad Amir has been inducted into the Pakistan squad for the England tour after paceman Haris Rauf’s latest Covid-19 test came in positive on Sunday, the availability of all-rounder Shoaib Malik for the three Twenty20 Internationals is shrouded in doubt.

Chief selector-cum-head coach Misbah-ul-Haq contacted Amir — from Derby where Pakistan are currently playing a four-day intra-squad match — on Sunday and after getting his consent he requested the PCB to begin process for Amir’s departure to England.

The PCB conducted Covid-19 test of Amir on Monday along with that of masseur Mohammad Imran. And if their initial tests are negative, they will then appear for a second test on Wednesday. And if the duo clear the tests their departure is possible later this week.

Amir was not named in the originally announced 29-member squad because his wife was expected their second child in July. After being blessed with another baby girl, Amir has made himself available for the tour.

Meanwhile, Malik’s departure has been delayed because he could not meet his immediate family in India due to a previous air travel ban. The Indian government, however, has decided to lift the ban from July 31, meaning Malik going to England in the second week of August.

But doubts still linger about his participation since he has to pass the mandatory 14- day quarantine period upon landing in England.

The first T20 fixture is on Aug 28 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.