Sarfaraz Ahmed unsuccessfully stumps to Mohammad Rizwan (C) and Saim Ayub (L) plays a shot during the PSL match at National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on Wednesday. AFP
Gulf Today Report
The Pakistan Super League (PSL) was suspended on Thursday after seven players tested positive for the coronavirus, the country's cricket board said.
The Twenty20 competition, which started on Feb.20, was put on hold "with immediate effect," a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) statement said. "The decision was made after seven cases were reported in the competition," a statement on the Pakistan Cricket Board website said.
Captains of Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators (R) pose before the toss. AFP
The PCB "will focus on the safe and secure passage of all participants, and arrange repeat PCR tests, vaccines and isolation facilities to the six participating sides", it added.
"They (owners) made it very clear that the players were not in a mental state to continue,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said in Karachi. "The franchises felt very uncomfortable, as we did, in putting the players under any additional risk when there was no need.”
Khan admitted breaches of COVID-19 protocols in the bio-secure bubble have caused the postponement.
Wasim Khan addresses a press conference. Reuters
"We had to deal with a minor breach at the beginning and we’ve done everything we possibly could,” Khan said. "This isn’t about a blame game, about who’s to blame. This is a collective effort that we all had a responsibility to actually police and self-police that (bio-secure) environment. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it effectively enough.”
The seven players included Australian spinner Fawad Ahmed, England's Tom Banton and Mohammad Faizan, who represents Lahore.
Imran Tahir celebrates after taking the wicket of Usman Khan. AP
Australian all-rounder Daniel Christian withdrew from the competition over fears of catching the virus and planned to fly out on Thursday.
The latest three cricketers who tested positive were unnamed, along with both clubs. In all there are six players and one staffer in isolation. The coronavirus has proved yet another hurdle for the
Pakistan Super League, which is now in its sixth edition but was held entirely in Pakistan for just the first time last year.
Broadcast Television camera operators shift their equipment as PSL was suspended on Thursday. AFP
Previous editions were hosted wholly or partially by the United Arab Emirates over security fears following the deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore.
Last year, three play-offs and the final were cancelled after England's Alex Hayles showed symptoms of COVID-19.
The games were rescheduled to November and held behind closed doors, when Karachi Kings won the title.
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