LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Executive Officer Wasim Khan on Tuesday said that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 has been postponed indefinitely after a foreign player who had left last week displayed symptoms of the coronavirus.
He made these remarks at a press conference with other PCB officials in Lahore.
At least 14 foreign players had decided to return to their own countries after the PCB last week gave them the option to leave amid coronavirus fears.
Adding that the player’s name would not be revealed to maintain privacy, Khan said that players from all the teams, the broadcasters and everyone else associated with the tournament would be tested for the virus.
Responding to a question he said that the Karachi Kings team had reservations about playing in the tournament and the decision was then made after consulting all the franchises.
The PCB chief added that the semi-final and final matches would be rescheduled before the next season of the PSL.
“We have been following the government’s advice [in the matter]. First, we took the decision to play matches in empty stadiums, then we gave players the option to leave, then we reduced the number of matches, we took 2-3 measures […] but after this suspected case, we made this decsion.”
Responding to a question about future cricket plans, Khan said that “nobody is playing cricket internationally […] it is a pandemic situation. Safety comes first, cricket comes second.”
A statement from the PCB said that the cricketing body would use its “reach and influence to play its part in all government’s drives and initiatives to create awareness and deal with this pandemic”.
Earlier today, PSL was called off with the knockouts to go, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Tuesday.
“PSL 2020 postponed, to be rescheduled. More details to follow in due course,” the PCB said in a post on Twitter.
HBL PSL 2020 postponed, to be rescheduled. More details to follow in due course#HBLPSLV
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) March 17, 2020
Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was in agreement with the PCB and added that the decision should have been given a week ago as matches, which were being played behind closed doors, had lost their charm.
“It is at this time of hour we needed to do what the world was doing. The PCB should have called off the tournament a week ago as without the crowd it was no fun,” Akhtar said.
Former cricketer Sikander Bakht suggested that the unfinished tournament can be concluded before the start of the next year.
He said that despite the incomplete tournament, the PSL 2020 “achieved its target of showing the world that Pakistan is safe to stage major tournaments”
The knockout matches of PSL were scheduled to be played in Lahore today, however, the remaining matches including Wednesday’s final has been postponed now.
In the first semi-final Multan Sultans were set to face Peshawar Zalmi at 2pm at the Gaddafi Stadium, while Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars were set to face each other in the evening fixture.
The final of the tournament was rescheduled to be played tomorrow after the PCB moved the tournament up to March 18 from March 22.
A day earlier, the Pakistan and Bangladesh had decided to postpone the upcoming one-day international and Test in Karachi for a later date.