England's "fragile" top order will be the target of Pakistan in their upcoming Test series, according to captain Azhar Ali.

A 20-man squad travelled to England on Sunday for the tour, which begins with three Tests, with 18 of Pakistan's initial 29-man group having been given the all-clear following the latest coronavirus tests.

Fast bowler Musa Khan and wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir have joined those 18 in making the trip.

Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz were among those to test positive for COVID-19 and those who have been infected must return two negative tests before they can travel to England.

Pakistan are set to face an England side who have struggled to replace Alastair Cook since his retirement from international duty in 2018.

Excluding nightwatchman Jack Leach, England have used five different opening pairings and found consistency hard to come by.

The obdurate Rory Burns displayed promise in the Ashes, while Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Joe Denly will be in contention to open alongside him when England face West Indies in a three-match series starting on July 8, prior to the Pakistan games.

"Their bowling attack is brilliant in their own conditions and there is no doubt about it," Azhar said prior to Pakistan's departure for England.

"Other than Jofra Archer we have faced all of them - [Stuart] Broad, [James] Anderson, [Chris] Woakes, [Ben] Stokes and even [Mark] Wood was there, but we have still won against them.

"Looking at their batting, their top order has been fragile for some time since Alastair Cook retired.

"They have tried a lot of combinations lately and might be looking a bit more settled, but they haven't been really confident with it. So there is something for us in it to look at."

Fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi might be lacking in experience of English conditions, but Azhar has confidence in their ability to overcome a lack of practice on the surfaces they will encounter.

"In terms of number of games, of course England have tons of experience in their bowling," Azhar added. "But we have the skills: they [our bowlers] are young and have a lot to offer. They can give trouble to any team in the world. In a very short time, they have achieved a lot and that is a good sign.

"You can't buy experience immediately, and for that you obviously have to play more, but then we have a very experienced coaching staff with Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed.

"Their expertise and knowledge can be utilised and they will be helping them. So I believe, when this combo of experience and skill is brought together, that we can produce a great result. I am confident about this."

Former Cricket West Indies (CWI) boss, Dave Cameron, is now looking further afield at the possibility of becoming chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

According to reports, Cameron will be seeking nominations for the post but is yet to make a request that the CWI support his bid.

It is not certain if the CWI would support a bid from Cameron either after the former boss and the man who ousted him, Ricky Skerritt, had very public differences, not just during their election campaigns, but recently.

Skerritt investigated Cameron’s tenure as president by way of an audit where there were a number of questions regarding accounting practices of the organization.

CWI vice president, Dr Kishore Shallow has not commented on whether or not the CWI would back such a bid, saying he wanted to wait to discuss it with the board upon the occasion of receiving a formal notice on the matter.

ICC Chairman, Shashank Manohar, will leave the post when his term ends this year with the ICC slated to discuss the election of a new boss in the very near future.

At the moment, frontrunner to fill the spot being left vacant by Manohar is England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief, Colin Graves.

Graves was expected to be elected unopposed when he steps down from his five-year sojourn at the helm of the ECB in August.

Cameron was president of the CWI from 2013-2019.

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph says he is a better bowler today than the one who faced England in England three years ago.

Joseph had a torrid time of the one Test he played in England during the 2017 Wisden Trophy, toiling for 22 overs without a wicket at a cost of 109 runs.

“I think I have made some improvements as a bowler. That was a big learning experience for me, my first time in England. So I have some experience here now so I know now how to bowl in these conditions in my second time around,” said Joseph.

According to Joseph, the key to bowling in England is making small adjustments to the increased movement in the ball.

“The ball does a bit more here in England than in the Caribbean. There are just some slight adjustments. Nothing too big,” the paceman said.

Joseph and the West Indies will be going into the second of their warm-up games ahead of the July 8 start to the battle for the Wisden Trophy.

In his first outing, a three-day encounter earlier this week, Joseph picked up 4-60 as a team captained by Jason Holder drew with another skippered by Kraigg Brathwaite.

Still, Joseph isn’t using the practice games to impress the coach into putting him in the final 11 for the July 8 series start, but rather, is ensuring he is ready if that happens to be the case.

“I see this as an opportunity to get some more overs under my belt, some more time out in the middle to get used to the conditions. I’m just looking to stay consistent. I think I bowled pretty well, so I am just looking to repeat what I did last game,” he said.

Joseph has had some trouble with injuries in recent times but feels he is fitter and stronger and more able to deal with the rigours of Test cricket.

“I put it down to a lot of hours on the training ground trying to improve my strength and my conditioning. Working on bowling consistently for longer periods,” he said of his recovery.

As far as fitting into a four-pronged pace attack which is expected to give England some trouble, Joseph is banking on the element of surprise.

Obviously those three [Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, JasonHolder] guys have a lot more experience than I do, so more often than not, teams may see me as the weak link,” said Joseph.

“I can use that as an advantage for me because I know my abilities. They might not know but once I get in on the day and get the job done I know I can get on top of any opponent.”

Despite picking a minor injury during the West Indies squad match at the Emirates, team skipper Jason Holder is expected to be fit in time for the start of the first Test in the #RaiseTheBat series on July 8.

Shayne Moseley followed up his first-innings knock of 40, with a solid unbeaten half-century as the three-day intra-squad match between Brathwaite’s XI and Holder’s XI ended in a draw at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Thursday.

Moseley scored a 142-ball 83 as Holder’s XI chasing 313, closed on 149 for 3. His innings included nine fours and a six.

 Nkrumah Bonner was unbeaten on 24 at the end.

Bowling for Brathwaite’s XI  Raymon Reifer, who had 5 for 60 in the first innings, Oshane Thomas and Keon Harding each had one wicket.

Earlier, Shane Dowrich and Shamarh Brooks scored unbeaten half-centuries as Brathwaite’s XI got to lunch on 231 for 4 on the final morning of the warm-up match against Holder’s XI at Emirates Old Trafford.

The pair posted an unbroken stand of 131 as Brathwaite's XI stretched their overnight lead of 181 to 313 before declaring at lunch.

Resuming on their overnight score 99 for three, Brathwaite’s XI had an early setback when Shannon Gabriel trapped Roston Chase lbw for his overnight score of four. He then sent down a torrent of bouncers to Dowrich as things got tense between the two sides.

Brooks, meanwhile, got off to a slow start but gradually scored at better than a run a ball to go to the break unbeaten on 66 from 99 balls. Dowrich was not out 56 (83 balls) having taken a liking to the spin bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican.

Shane Dowrich and Shamarh Brooks scored unbeaten half-centuries Thursday as Brathwaite’s XI got to lunch on 231 for 4 on the final morning of the warm-up match against Holder’s XI at Emirates Old Trafford.

The pair posted an unbroken stand of 131 before lunch as Brathwaite's XI stretched their overnight lead of 181 to 313.

Resuming on 99 for three, Brathwaite’s XI had an early setback when Shannon Gabriel trapped Roston Chase lbw for his overnight score of four. He then sent down a torrent of bouncers to Dowrich as things got tense between the two sides.

Brooks, meanwhile, got off to a slow start but gradually scored at better than a run a ball to go to the break unbeaten on 66 from 99 balls. Dowrich was not out 56 (83 balls) having taken a liking to the spin bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican.

Tell me I’m wrong isn’t a call to prove myself to be a better cricket analyst than anybody else but rather, expresses the hope that all West Indians have ahead of the team’s historic bio-secure Test series against England beginning July 8.

Raymon Reifer’s five wickets in quick succession helped Brathwaite’s XI into a position of strength on day-two of their intra-squad match against Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Merissa Aguilleira made her international debut for the West Indies in 2008 at the age of 22.

England's training squad have all tested negative for coronavirus ahead of the Test series against West Indies.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have carried out a total of 702 tests during June, involving not just players but also members of the coaching team and staff at the two bio-secure venues - the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford - set to host the upcoming matches.

All those checked were clear of COVID-19, the governing body confirmed on Wednesday. The first Test starts on July 8.

"The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that 702 COVID-19 tests were carried out between June 3 and June 23 with several stakeholder groups working at the bio-secure venues of the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford," a short statement read.

"These groups include players, support staff, match officials, ECB staff, venue staff and hotel staff. We can confirm that all 702 tests were negative."

All of England's players bar Jofra Archer arrived at the Ageas Bowl, which stages the series opener, on Tuesday to take part in a behind-closed-doors camp.

Paceman Archer is set to join up with his team-mates on Thursday, his delayed arrival coming after a member of his household felt unwell over the weekend.

After starting out at the Ageas Bowl, England and West Indies will move up to Manchester for the remaining two Tests.

Mohammad Hafeez says he has tested negative for coronavirus after being one of 10 players who the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revealed to have contracted COVID-19.

On Tuesday the PCB said seven of its team members and a masseur had tested positive, with three others having been found to have the virus on Monday ahead of a scheduled tour to England.

However, on Wednesday Hafeez claimed he did not have coronavirus, tweeting a picture of a test result that showed he was negative.

The all-rounder said he and his family got the all-clear after seeking a second opinion.

England and Pakistan are due to play three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals from the end of July until September. 

The PCB said the latest players to test positive, aside from Hafeez, were Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz, along with masseur Malang Ali. 

In a statement, the PCB said its medical panel was "already in contact with these players and the masseur, who have been instructed to observe strict quarantine at their homes for their and their families' wellbeing". 

It remains to be seen if Hafeez's latest result will allow him to be free of the same quarantine restrictions.

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon could not resist a lighthearted quip when asked about the prospect of an unexpected Test series against Ashes rivals England.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the 2020 sporting calendar and cricket has not been spared the scheduling headache caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Test cricket is set to resume next month with a behind-closed-doors series between England and West Indies.

Pakistan are due to tour England for three Tests and three T20 internationals immediately after, but the confirmation of 10 positive tests for coronavirus among Misbah-ul-Haq's squad has led to concerns over those matches.

Officials said plans to play Pakistan remain on track but there have been some murmurings that Australia, who are due to feature in a rescheduled limited-overs tour of England in September, could be asked to play some red-ball cricket should the matches with Pakistan be curtailed.

Asked about that possibility, Lyon replied with a smile: "It just sounds like England want the Ashes back ASAP!"

Australia's own plans are up in the air, with uncertainty over August's home ODI series with Zimbabwe, while the T20 World Cup – which is slated to take place in the country across October and November – may yet be moved to early next year.

"I've got no idea when we're playing next or when potential tours are or anything," Lyon added.

"There's so many balls up in the air. I'm not qualified to be making any arrangements.

"We know something will come eventually. It's just about getting some really good preparation under our belt."

Lyon has another target in his sights for later in the year, namely gaining revenge on India for Australia's 2018-19 Test-series defeat on home soil.

It was the first time India had won a red-ball series in Australia and Lyon wants to make amends when Virat Kohli's side are back for four Tests, the first of which starts in December.

"You never like losing series or games of cricket for Australia," Lyon said.

"India a couple of years ago, they outplayed us. But we're looking forward to having those guys come here, it's getting up there to the pinnacle series alongside the Ashes.

"They've got a side full of superstars and it's going to be an amazing challenge this Australian summer when they get out here."

Half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope carried a Brathwaite XI team to 275 all out at stumps on day one of the West Indies’ three-day warm-up match against Jason Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Tuesday.

England's cricket stars have been urged to be careful about heading back to pubs and restaurants - with Ashley Giles warning they could be putting the planned schedule at risk. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said England will see a reopening of many drinking, eating and even entertainment establishments from July 4, and there may be a clamour to rekindle social lives. 

But with the coronavirus threat still present, there is no certainty such venues will be safe environments, even with social distancing measures in place. 

England are hosting West Indies and Pakistan in Test action in the coming months, they also play the latter in T20 cricket as well, plus have ODIs against Ireland and potentially limited-overs games against Australia to come. 

Former spin bowler Giles, now director of men's cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, said it was important to be aware of the possible perils of mixing socially. 

"We haven't talked about banning them, but what we'd ask them to be is sensible," Giles said. "They have been throughout the whole process. 

"They need to continue that, because if you come back into an environment and you haven't been adhering to the guidelines then you put everyone else and the series at risk." 

England will be living in bio-secure environments for large parts of their summer, but squads for each series could differ, and there may be factors that mean players have to temporarily leave camp. 

The opening matches see England face West Indies in three Tests, with the first played in Southampton before back-to-back fixtures at Old Trafford.  

"It'll be quite strange," Giles said. "We could be in a situation where we have a very secure bubble for the second and third Test matches of the series and the rest of the world is operating at a new normal, with restaurants and pubs open again. 

"Our main responsibility is to get this series on the road and keep everyone safe, especially including the West Indies team who've done so much to come here." 

With 10 Pakistan players having tested positive for coronavirus, it remains to be seen whether they and England can go ahead with their planned series, although both sides are intending to do so at present. 

A backstop option could see England invite Ireland to step into the breach. 

Giles says that is not currently being discussed, adding: "As with this situation throughout, we've had to be agile and adapt very quickly to different situations, all of us." 

When England are locked together in camp, Giles says it will be the responsibility of everyone to guard against missteps, and he is braced for mistakes to be made. 

"I think it would be down to all of us to police it. The players are aware of the seriousness of the situation," he told a news conference. 

"People are going to make mistakes. We all are. We're all going to get it wrong. 

"It will be weird. Anyone who thinks this is going to be a holiday camp is going to be seriously mistaken. 

"There could be an opportunity for some guys to play golf on a course next door. But apart from that there's two sessions of cricket a day; there's going to be a lot of work. 

"But inside, social distancing still, wearing of masks, probably spending a lot of time on your own isn't a lot of fun and I think it's a bit of a culture shock." 

Giles said he was "quietly confident" about Australia visiting later this year, albeit there was "some nervousness" on the part of their Ashes rivals. 

Seven Pakistan players and a team masseur have tested positive for coronavirus, but officials say plans to tour England remain "very much on track". 

The announcement of the positive results on Tuesday came a day after three others from Misbah-ul-Haq's squad were confirmed as having COVID-19. 

All 10 infected players have been ordered to self-isolate and will stay at home when the rest depart on a chartered flight, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said. 

England and Pakistan are due to play three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals from the end of July until September. 

The PCB said the latest seven players to test positive were Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz, along with masseur Malang Ali. 

In a statement, the PCB said its medical panel was "already in contact with these players and the masseur, who have been instructed to observe strict quarantine at their homes for their and their families' wellbeing". 

None showed any symptoms before being tested, the PCB added. They must each produce two negative test results before being allowed to travel to England to join up with the squad. 

Ashley Giles, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of men's cricket, had said the first three positive tests were "a concern". 

Players and staff who have tested negative will gather in Lahore on Wednesday before undergoing a further round of coronavirus testing on Thursday. More tests will be conducted by the ECB once the squad arrives in England. 

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said: "The tour to England is very much on track and the side will depart as per schedule on June 28. 

"Fortunately, all the first-choice red-ball squad, barring Mohammad Rizwan, are negative, which means they can start training and practicing immediately after they have been tested and given the all-clear when they arrive in England. 

"In the meantime, Misbah-ul-Haq is reviewing the training schedule in England and firming up plans for reserve players to be tested as a back-up."

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