Three cricketers and five members of the support staff from different franchises have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the upcoming seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced.
According to a statement issued by the Pakistan board, PCB’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Salman Naseer, who is also the tournament director of the domestic T20 league, revealed that more than 250 tests were conducted since Thursday following which eight people returned positive for the virus. These eight people included three players and five support staff members.
“As per latest results received, in over 250 tests conducted since Thursday, three players and five support staff members have tested positive and have been isolated,” Naseer said.
As per reports, the tests were conducted at the time of the hotel check-in and all the people were negative 48 hours prior to their arrival at the hotel.
Meanwhile, the statement further informed that the players and officials, who had tested negative, were allowed to enter the biosecure bubble and will resume training from January 24 – after completing the isolation period and receiving two negative COVID-19 testing results.
Moreover, Naseer informed that as a precautionary measure, the PCB had started pre-emptive testing of hotel and PCB staff from January 14. The PCB COO also said that the other support staff and hotel staff who had tested positive were released and are now isolated at their homes.
“The PCB remains committed to creating a safe and secure environment for all participants so that they can play and perform to the best of their abilities. In the environment that we presently live in, there will be positive cases but we have robust health and safety plans to ensure the event is played and concluded within the duration of January 27 to February 27,” Naseer said.
Amid the massive spike in Covid-19 infections, the PCB had finalised the health and safety protocols for the upcoming seventh PSL edition and had acknowledged the players and the people associated with the tournament in this regard recently.
Earlier, the Pakistan board 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.
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 Pakistan Cricket Board 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, Naseer had said that the recent experience has made the board extra cautious for the upcoming seventh edition of the T20 League.