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HBL PSL, sixth edition postponed after rising in Covid-19 cases

PCB Cricket
PCB Media/ Twitter

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to postpone the ongoing sixth edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) due to the rise in multiple Covid-19 cases.

According to sources, seven players and one support staff official had tested positive for Covid-19 which raised questions over PCB’s bio-secure bubble arrangements and reservations from foreign players.

Tom Banton from Quetta Gladiators, Fawad Ahmed and Lewis Gregory from Islamabad United were the players included in the players who were tested positive.

Sources revealed that players got relaxed after Peshawar Zalmi’s head coach Daren Sammy and skipper Wahab Riaz were reintegrated with other members of the squad without following the required bio-secure bubble protocols. 

The step was taken after Peshawar Zalmi refused to play against Lahore Qalandars without both of them.

Players families also joined the bubble without spending time in isolation and proper testing. They were also seen mingling with the players in the stands at National Stadium Karachi.

PCB’s Statement

Following the meeting with the team owners and considering the health and well being of players on top priority, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to postpone the sixth edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) with an immediate effect. 

The decision was made after seven cases were reported positive including one member of supporting staff in the competition that started on February 20.

The PCB with an immediate effect will ensure the safe and secure passage of all the participants, arrange repeat PCR tests, vaccines and isolation facilities to all the six participating sides. 

“Franchisees have invested a lot of money to make the PSL work, so there are always going to be a lot of emotions, particularly in the first 24 hours.  Any environment can only work if all stakeholders are on the same page. It is not the time to be fighting with franchises and blame each other.  The bottom line is that is a collective failure and there has to be a sense of collective responsibility,”

said PCB CEO, Wasim Khan.

The Chief Executive of PCB said that an independent inquiry will be held into the Covid-19 breach. The investigation will check where did it went wrong and who is responsible.

“We will fully investigate the breaches, but it is not going to be the PCB staff that will do that. We will talk to the Board of Governors and will instigate an investigation regarding what went wrong,”

he said. 

“We need to have a hard look at ourselves. This isn’t about shifting blame. Bio-secure bubble is all about trust and discipline. Building trust will take some time but we will make sure this doesn’t happen again,”

he added.

Earlier today, Atif Rana, CEO of Lahore Qalandars told in an interview with Express-News that PCB has failed to implement bio-secure bubble protocols. He also added that the owner of the franchise was also pardoned for embracing the players.

“The board was not only to create a bio-secure bubble on paper but also to implement it in hotels and venues, but this was not done,” said Rana. “PCB should have imposed fines on players and officials violating SOPs.”

It is now official that the sixth edition of HBL PSL has been postponed with an immediate effect after eight individuals tested positive for Covid-19.