Ahead of the start of the seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Peshawar Zalmi’s Kamran Akmal and Arshad Iqbal have returned positive for Covid-19 and will now be replaced by players from the reserves pool, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed.
Akmal and Iqbal had underwent PCR tests at the time of check-in at the team hotel for participating in the uipcoming league on January 22. After the development, Peshawar Zalmi has announced that the duo will now be replaced by Imam-ul-Haq and Ammad Butt for the upcoming PSL matches.
However, as per the PCB, the replacement will be temporary and Akmal and Iqbal can re-integrate into the squad after completing isolation and receiving negative PCR results.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan board has further said that each side will be allowed a maximum of 20 players at any given time and the player replaced will be allowed to rejoin the side but will require the event technical committee’s approval.
Last week, the PCB had finalised the health and safety protocols for the upcoming PSL season amid the massive in in Covid-19 infections, and had also acknowledged the players and the people assocaited with the tournament in this regard.
The PCB had said that anyone who fails to follow the protocols will face five penalties depending on the nature of the violation, which includes five to 25% and 25% to 50% match fee deductions. As per the PCB, serious violations could lead to elimination from the team and the committee will have the right to impose severe punishment on different cases of violation.
The list of minor violations include several things such as not keeping a distance of six feet, sharing water bottles, kits, towels, and different items, shaking hands before or after the matches, not picking up laundry from the ground or dressing room, using isolation rooms without permission, getting physiotherapy or massages without a mask, getting physiotherapy for more than 15 minutes, etc.
On the other hand, the major violations include: Calling someone in your room apart from the maintenance staff, not wearing a mask where required, ordering something in a room without the permission of the manager of bio-secure bubble, not informing the integrity manager of your symptoms, taking medicines to reduce symptoms or to affect test results, meeting someone who has covid symptoms or is positive for the virus, telling someone else about the cases or symptoms outside the bubble.
Significantly, after the abrupt postponement of the West Indies tour of Pakistan due to the emergence of Covid-19 cases inside the secure bio-bubble, the PCB is extra cautious for the upcoming PSL season.
In December 2021, the Covid-19 outbreak in the West Indies camp had led to the postponement of the ODI series between touring West Indies and hosts Pakistan. The ODI series will now be played in June 2022.
After the development, PCB Chief Operating Office Salman Naseer said that the recent experience has made the board extra cautious for the upcoming seventh edition of the T20 League.
Notably, the upcoming PSL season will be staged in two phases with the first one to be held in Karachi while the second and last phase will be held in Lahore. Each phase will consist of 15 matches each.
Following an opening ceremony, defending champions Multan Sultans will take on hosts and 2020 champions Karachi Kings at the National Stadium in Karachi, which will begin at 7pm PKT.
Later, 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators will face 2017 winners Peshawar Zalmi on the following day.