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Cardiff: Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Wednesday said his side had given no thought to calling off their tour of England despite the coronavirus crisis that has forced the hosts into selecting a new squad for the upcoming ODI series.

England named an entirely revamped 18-man party on Tuesday, with the returning Ben Stokes as captain instead of Eoin Morgan, after three of their players and four support staff, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

Meanwhile, the rest of the England party involved in the 2-0 ODI series win over Sri Lanka were forced to self-isolate.

That meant they were ruled out of the three ODIs against Pakistan as well.

Azam, asked ahead of the first ODI in Cardiff on Thursday, if Pakistan had thought of abandoning a tour that also includes three T20Is, said: “No, we didn’t think about it, it didn’t come into our minds at any time.

“The PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) and ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) have assured us that they will take care of the safety and health of all the squad members.

England may be the 50-over world champions, but Pakistan will be up against an unfamiliar side in the series opener at Sophia Gardens. “We know most of them but there were a couple of new faces in the squad,” Azam said.

“We sat together with the analyst and worked on them, we have seen footage of their county matches and we can’t take any player playing for them lightly.

“I know a few of them having played in the (English county) T20 Blast and those we don’t know we have researched their performances. We are expecting good cricket tomorrow.”       



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