COVID-19 has been the enemy of every field, including cricket. The deadly virus had wreaked havoc and had the world come to a standstill. But like everything else, cricket found it’s way back and slowly but surely started getting back on its feet. There were a few blips here and there but most of the cricket went along smoothly.
Peshawar Zalmi lodged an appeal to allow the coach-captain duo re-enter the bubble despite not fulfilling the three-day isolation.Cricket Betting
Be it T20 tournaments or international bilateral series, cricket was being played in the bio-secure bubbles. There were strict protocols in quite a few of those tournaments and there were high restrictions imposed on the players and the support staff. And just when things were going fine, the sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League was called off midway through and postponed indefinitely in the wake of the rising COVID-19 cases. Only 14 games could be completed and on March 4th, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took the call and cancelled the tournament.
In less than a week, as many as seven players or officials have tested positive for COVID-19. There were multiple events that took place in the lead up and during the tournament that forced the organisers to suspend the 2021 season. Lets hope this isn’t repeated for the IPL 2021 season!
Only a day before the start of the tournament, a Lahore Qalandars player returned a positive report for COVID-19 and was isolated for 10 days. Peshawar Zalmi coach Daren Sammy and skipper Wahab Riaz broke the bio-secure protocols that were put in place for all teams and they held a meeting with Peshawar Zalmi owner Javed Afridi who is not a part of the bio-secure bubble. Both Sammy and Riaz were told to isolate themselves for three days and return two negative COVID-19 tests.
However, Peshawar Zalmi lodged an appeal after which, the coach-captain duo were allowed to re-enter the bubble despite not fulfilling the three-day isolation but they returned two negative tests in the span of 48 hours.
A week later Fawad Ahmed tests positive and is put in isolation. However, he took part in a game between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi. That lead to a postponement of the Islamabad-Quetta game by a day. After all other player return negative PCR tests before the game and the match goes ahead. Two more positive cases arise – Tom Banton and a member of the support staff and there was quite a bit of deliberation on how to proceed with the tournament. But, a day later, three more positive cases come up and Australian all-round Dan Christian is leaving the tournament due to COVID-19 fears. However, this leads to an emergency meeting and the PSL season is called off with immediate effect.
It’s barely been a couple of weeks since the PSL started and a lot went wrong even before it started. The protocols weren’t strict enough and allowing Riaz and Sammy back without completing their isolation didn’t set a good precedent either. The bio-secure bubble wasn’t maintained as well as the franchise owners sat along with the players and the management during the matches. Moreover, despite Fawad Ahmed showing symptoms three days prior to testing positive, he played a match. Thus, the bio-bubble created in Karachi wasn’t respected or strictly adhered to.
This goes out as a massive message to the cricketing world and all the tournament organisers. Irrespective of who the player or support staff is or what his/her stature is, there needs to be stricter bio-bubbles and even stricter actions against the ones breaching the protocols. You cannot have the organisers and the cricket board budging to protests, especially if they have breached the bio-bubble and the protocols haven’t been followed. It’s putting hundreds of people at risk if it’s a multi-team tournament. Hence, rules, protocols and the bio-bubbles need to be followed strictly and there are no two ways about it.
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