The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has allowed foreign players participating in Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament to leave the event amid coronavirus fears.
An update on PCB’s website stated that all players and players support personnel have been given the option to withdraw from the HBL PSL 2020 should they wish to do so.
It added the following players have to date confirmed they will not take any further part in the HBL PSL 2020:
Karachi Kings Alex Hales, Multan Sultans Rilee Rossouw and James Vince, Peshawar Zalmi’sTom Banton, Carlos Brathwaite, Liam Dawson, James Foster (coach), Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone and Quetta Gladiators Jason Roy and Tymal Mills.
The PCB stated that as per the event regulations, the teams will be allowed player replacements, which will have to be approved by the Event Technical Committee
It said the PCB will continue to assess and monitor the situation and make decisions as appropriate in consultation with the team owners. The PCB is also considering rescheduling PSL matches due to an issue with the broadcasters. The PCB is considering holding the final match of PSL on March 18. Karachi will host two more matches while the rest will be held in Lahore.
No player has to date tested positive for Coronavirus, the website maintained.
According to media reports, players from England are particularly concerned over the spread of the virus and consequent suspension of flight operation, which is why they are seeking the earliest possible flights out of Pakistan.
On Thursday, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that cricket fans will not be allowed to visit the National Stadium Karachi to view PSL matches, media has reported.
The CM said that from March 13 (Friday), all PSL matches in Karachi will now be held behind closed doors as part of measures to avoid spread of coronavirus.
He instructed the officials that those who have already purchased tickets for the PSL matches should be informed about the decision and their money be refunded.
In addition to this, the PCB has decided the teams will not be required to shake hands with each other or opposition in the lead up to and during the matches and use a fist bump / verbal greeting instead.
Commenting on the situation PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said, “Health and safety is paramount and takes precedence over cricket. The PCB takes the health and safety of its players, spectators, officials, media, service providers and security personnel very seriously.”
He added, “Following the advisory from the Government of Sindh, the PCB has taken this precautionary and preemptive measure which will result in matches taking place in front of empty stadium.”
He maintained, “We empathise with the Karachi fans who have been outstanding with their support in the earlier matches and during the hosting of eight PSL matches last year. Once we received the advisory from the Government of Sindh, it was important for us to act quickly to ensure that the wellbeing of all concerned is better protected.”