Pakistan Super League goes for a COVID ‘six’



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Pakistan Super League Cricket postponed Image: thenews.com.pk

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been postponed indefinitely after six players and a support staffer tested positive for COVID-19, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said recently. The sporting showpiece started on February 20th, 2021 and would have continued till March 22nd, 2021, if things would have gone on track.

The PCB said in a statement that the above decision was taken after a virtual meeting with owners of the six PSL clubs.

The Pakistan Super League is a professional Twenty20 cricket league contested during February and March of every year by six teams representing six cities in Pakistan. The league was found on September 9th, 2015 with five teams and now comprises six teams -Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans, Peshawar Zalmi, and Quetta Gladiators.

A statement on the Pakistan Cricket Board website read, “Following a meeting with the team owners and considering that the health and wellbeing of all participants was paramount, the Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to postpone the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021 with immediate effect. The decision was made after seven cases were reported in the competition, which had started on February 20th, which had resulted in the situation which had become beyond the reasonable control of all stakeholders.”

The statement on the Pakistan Cricket Board website further read, “The PCB, as an immediate step, will focus on the safe and secure passage of all participants, and arrange repeat PCR tests, vaccines.

PCB CEO Wasim Khan said in a presser, “It is a great disappointment for us that we have found ourselves in a situation where neither us nor others are able to provide what we need to provide and that is the full protection of players, the wellbeing of all the players comes first and foremost above anything else. We had a discussion with all the franchisees and we came to the conclusion that it was best to postpone the event. There was a strong consensus that it was untenable to continue.”

Karachi had hosted 14 of the 20 preliminary round matches before the event was due to move to Lahore for the remaining 14 games on March 10th.

Earlier, the tally of infected individuals in the PSL bio-secure bubble rose to seven after three more unnamed cricketers from two clubs tested positive for the dreaded virus.

Islamabad United’s (Pakistani professional Twenty20 franchise) two foreign cricketers, including Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, an unnamed foreign cricketer and a support staff member from one of the clubs were already in isolation after being tested positive earlier.

On February 21st, Peshawar Zalmi (Pakistani franchise T20 cricket team) captain Wahab Riaz and head coach Daren Sammy were allowed to rejoin their squad after an appeal against quarantine for breaching COVID-19 protocols was accepted by the PCB.

Riaz and Sammy breached the team’s bio-secure bubble on February 19th when they met with their team owner, who was not part of the bio-secure bubble.

But they rejoined the team following two negative COVID-19 tests after they were spared three-day quarantine when their appeal was accepted by the PSL committee.

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