Quetta Gladiators’ ace all-rounder Shahid Afridi has recovered from Covid-19, the franchise’s manager Azam Khan has announced.
Khan said that the 46-year-old will now arrive at the team hotel on Tuesday where his rapid antigen test (RAT) will be conducted. He said that if Afridi returns negative, he will be able to join the Gladiators’ squad before their upcoming PSL match against Islamabad United on February 3 in Karachi.
Earlier, Afridi had also tested negative on Sunday in his second Covid test.
After Afridi had tested positive for the deadly virus, he was forced to isolate himself following the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Covid-19 protocols.
Later, the Gladiators management had asked the leagues’ technical committee for Hassan Khan as a replacement for Afridi which was approved.
It was reported that Hassan will also be available for selection for Gladiators’s game against Multan Sultans on Tuesday and if Afridi clears his rapid antigen test, he will join the team and Hassan would return to the bubble.
Earlier on January 27 just few hours before the start of the PSL’s seventh edition, Afridi has tested positive for Covid-19 and had to quarantine himslef at his home following PCB’s protocols.
After testing positive, Afridi had missed the first few matches of the Gladiators.
Before testing positive, Afridi had left the team’s bio-secure bubble to visit a hospital where he had spent a few hours and he was tested positive upon return, the team management had said.
Afridi had also requested the franchise management to release him just for a day before the start of the tournament citing medical and personal reasons.
Notablt, before the start of the sevent season, the PCB had finalised the health and safety protocols 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 ongoing 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 is being staged in two phases with the first one currently underway in Karachi while the second and last phase will be held in Lahore. Each phase will consist of 15 matches each.