From our correspondent
KARACHI: The fear of coronavirus on Friday hit hard the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 as 14 overseas players and two foreign team officials decided to withdraw from the remaining action of the country’s marquee spectacle which has entered into an interesting stage.
The players who decided to leave include: Alex Hales (Karachi Kings), Rilee Rossouw and James Vince (Multan Sultans), Tom Banton, Carlos Brathwaite, Liam Dawson, James Foster (coach), Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone (all Peshawar Zalmi), Jason Roy and Tymal Mills (Quetta Gladiators), Colin Munro, Dale Steyn, Dawid Malan and Luke Ronchi and trainer Corey Rutgers (Islamabad United).
“The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as part of the normal process, held a conference call with the team owners on Friday morning. The following are the outcomes: The HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 will proceed as planned, including tonight’s Multan Sultans versus Peshawar Zalmi match, which will commence at the National Stadium at 8pm,” the PCB said.
“The match will be played behind closed doors and only event accredited personnel will be allowed to enter the venue. All players and players support personnel have been given the option to withdraw from the HBL PSL 2020 should they wish to do so,” the Board said.
“As per the event regulations the teams will be allowed player replacements which will have to be approved by the Event Technical Committee,” the Board said. The PCB will continue to assess and monitor the situation and make decisions as appropriate in consultation with the team owners, it was informed. The Board also added that no player has to date tested positive for coronavirus.
The PCB said that no discussion has been made yet about Pakistan’s home matches against Bangladesh and Pakistan Cup One-day.
“No discussion has taken place as yet with regards to the upcoming Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament and home international matches against Bangladesh,” the Board added.
“This remains an evolving and unprecedented situation with a number of moving parts that require constant and regular monitoring,” the PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said.
“Today, the PCB and the team owners, as part of their duty of care, have decided to give all the players the option to decide if they wish to return home. Ensuring that the players feel comfortable remains paramount to the PCB,” he said.
“As of now, it is important to emphasise and clarify that the main concern of many of the 10 players and a coach, who have chosen to return home, revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded either due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries,” Wasim said.
“The PCB will facilitate their safe return and will ensure the same for all of the players and support staff personnel who decide to withdraw from HBL PSL 2020,” he said.
“As stated previously, we will continue to assess and review the situation and will not hesitate to make what we believe are the right decisions for everyone involved.”
As the decision about Islamabad’s players came late Friday night, the PCB said that in their last group match against Karachi Kings on 14 March at the National Stadium, Islamabad United can bring in the players’ replacements following the Event Technical Committee’s approval as per the HBL PSL 2020 regulations.