Pakistan Super League suspended as player showed symptoms of coronavirus - GulfToday

Pakistan Super League suspended as player showed symptoms of coronavirus


A soldier stands guard outside the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday. Arif Ali/AFP

The Pakistan Super League Twenty20 cricket tournament was postponed hours before the playoffs were set to begin Tuesday because a foreign player showed symptoms of the new coronavirus.

"We made the decision ... after we came to know this morning that the player, who has already flown back home, has shown symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan said. "When we knew there’s a suspected case, we showed the responsibility and took the decision in collaboration with the franchises.”

Organizers didn't identify the player because of privacy considerations.

"The PCB has closely monitored the situation and had taken precautionary measures including consultation with relevant authorities and temperature screening of players, officials and media on match and non-match days,” Wasim Khan said. "The PCB also took the team owners of franchises into confidence on Tuesday morning before deciding to postpone the event."

Crew members of Tower Sports pack up their equipment at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday. Arif Ali/AFP

Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium was due to host the semifinals between top-ranked Multan Sultans and fourth-place Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings against Lahore Qalandars. The final had been scheduled for Wednesday.

The local Punjab provincial government had given special permission to the PCB to go ahead with the PSL in the empty stadium because of concerns over the virus outbreak.

A number of foreign players contracted to the franchises had already left Pakistan.

Peshawar was the team most affected by the pandemic after its five foreign cricketers — Liam Dawson, Lewis Greogry, Carlos Brathwaite, Liam Livingstone and Tom Banton — flew home last Friday and didn’t play in the last league match. Multan was without James Vince and Rilee Roussow.

Lahore, playing its first playoffs in five years, was without Chris Lynn, Seekkuge Prasanna and David Wiese. Karachi Kings Alex Hales left last week.

The PCB brought forward the finals by four days and barred fans from the stadiums at Karachi and Lahore for the last six matches.

The PSL decision came a day after a test match and a one-day international between Pakistan and Bangladesh was postponed.

Several Pakistan cricketers endorsed the PCB’s decision to postpone the event.

Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez, who plays for Lahore, said it was a wise decision under the circumstances. "Sad but Health & Safety comes 1st, we all need to observe precautions carefully,” he posted on Twitter.

Multan allrounder Shahid Afridi said the PCB should have taken the decision earlier, and hinted that his franchise could be declared winners.

"Sad to see the PSL end, but health and safety of all concerned is the key, especially those who are travelling back to their homes. Perhaps the decision could have been taken earlier, with regards to the trophy ... well the table-topper should be handed the trophy?” Afridi posted.

But Khan said the PCB will reschedule the semifinals and final before the next edition of PSL next year.

In Pakistan, there are 189 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Health officials say five more people who returned from Iran recently have been tested positive. Pakistan’s border with Iran and Afghanistan remained closed Tuesday.

Associated Press

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