Just few hhours before the start of the Pakistani Super League’s (PSL) seventh edition, Quetta Gladiators ace all-rounder and former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has tested positive for Covid-19.
After the development, Afridi will quarantine at his home following Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) protocols and will be reintegrated into the Gladiators squad after seven days of his quarantine and a negative test.
The 46-year-old will now not participate in the first few matches of Quetta Gladiators and will likely join the squad for the Lahore leg.
On Wednesday, Afridi had left the team’s bio-secure bubble to visit a hospital where he spent a few hours and he was tested positive upon return, the team management said.
Earlier a day before, Afridi had requested the franchise management to release him just for a day before the start of the tournament citing medical and personal reasons.
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.