The remaining matches of Pakistan Super League 2021 have been postponed due to the rising COVID-19 cases.
In a statement on Thursday, the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed the development. “Following a meeting with the team owners and considering the health and wellbeing of all participants is paramount, the Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to postpone the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 with immediate effect. The decision was made after seven cases were reported in the competition, which had started on 20 February,” the release said.
“The PCB, as an immediate step, will focus on the safe and secure passage of all participants, and arrange repeat PCR tests, vaccines and isolation facilities to the six participating sides.”
The domestic T20 tournament has been rocked by a series of COVID-19 cases with the governing body confirming on Thursday that three unnamed players from two different teams tested positive for the disease. Karachi has hosted 14 of the 20 preliminary round matches. From Wednesday, the league was to move to Lahore for the remaining 14 games.
In a media interaction on Thursday, the PCB CEO Wasim Khan said that efforts will be taken to find out a window later this year. However, for the moment, the safety of all the players and stakeholders were of prime importance. “The SOPs were laid out bearing in mind that we have delivered two Test series (against Zimbabwe and South Africa), the National T20 and Quad e Azam Trophy. It was a great disappointment for us that we have found ourselves in such a situation. The health and safety of players is first and foremost and comes above everything else,” Khan said.
With players testing positive for the virus, there were initial plans to have a five-day break, conduct tests again and then resume the tournament. However, the teams conveyed to the PCB that with cases spiking, the players were nervous and not in the right frame of mind.
“There was a strong consensus that it was untenable to continue, based on the fact that it was outside of ours, there were reasonable areas as to whatever was taking place. Seven players had contracted the virus since February 27. For us that was the main thing – once the players start becoming affected, then it becomes an issue. There was a trickle effect of that happening over the last few days,” Khan said.
The PCB CEO also confirmed that there will be an investigation on the whole issue. “We will do an investigation, and it won’t be done by the PCB staff. I will inform the chairman about it and then he will ask board of governors, and we can decide on the investigation,” the CEO stated.