KARACHI: The Over-50s Cricket World Cup Tournament 2020, being staged in and around Cape Town, South Africa, has been cancelled with immediate effect because of the Covid-19 virus.
The organizing committee and World Cup Ambassador Former Test Player Barry Richards took the decision during the course of the third round of matches, which were then abandoned after the first innings, on Sunday.
Centuries by opener Sajid Ali (124 off 140 balls) and Muhammad Javed (133 off 84 balls) had put Pakistan in a commanding position as they rattled up a huge score of 321 for two in the allotted 45 overs against Wales. But the match was called off before Pakistan could take the field to defend a huge score.
The first innings in other five matches had also been completed at which point it was decided to stop them following the decision taken by the organizing committee.
Canada was taking on West Indies, England was taking on Namibia, Sri Lanka was confronting Australia, Zimbabwe was playing New Zealand and South Africa was tackling India.
“The decision was taken for the protection of the players, given their age demographic but also for the local population given that 95% of known cases in South African have come from travelers. It is a public health risk decision,” the head of the tournament’s medical committee, Dr Parag Pandya, declared.
“The decision was taken by the organizing and medical committees but it is fully endorsed by the sponsors. There was a great desire to continue but, in the end, it became apparent that cancellation was the right thing to do,” Evergreen Lifestyle’s spokesperson Arthur Case added.
Seven of the 11 visiting teams had been staying in the same Cape Town hotel where appropriate precautions were taken and they were to remain the same until arrangements were made for their repatriation.
Pakistan, finished runners-up in the inaugural tournament a couple of years ago in Australia, was unbeaten in the tournament, having overpowered Namibia and India in their earlier games and they were strongly placed to defeat Wales as well. The Pakistan players and Officials are returning back to Pakistan by today’s flight.
The 15-member Pakistan squad, having Quetta Gladiators as the main sponsors, with Amar Cables, Turk Plast, Haseen Habib and Bank Al Falah being co-sponsors, was due to take on South Africa and England in their remaining games before the knockout rounds.
Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2020