CHRISTCHURCH: The troubled Pakistan cricket team suffered another setback on Friday when it was denied the right to train while in managed isolation in New Zealand after eight members of the touring squad tested positive for Covid-19.

Under exemptions granted to visiting sports teams, members of the 53-strong Pakistan squad could have been allowed to leave their Christchurch hotel to train in small groups after the third day of their 14-day isolation period.

But the positive tests and a breach of isolation protocols by team members on their first day in isolation has led New Zealand authorities to withhold the training exemption.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s director-general of health, confirmed Friday the exemption would not be granted.

“I have very carefully considered this situation,” Bloomfield said. “At this time, I continue to have ongoing concerns about the risk of cross-infection within the squad.

“There have been a number of active cases identified among the team. Public health considerations will continue to be foremost in our response to Covid-19, whether this involves individuals or teams.

“We appreciate the challenges that this decision will have for the touring team.”

Pakistan were scheduled to have a four-day game starting on Dec 10 against New Zealand ‘A’ upon their release from isolation, but opted instead to play a series of intra-squad matches, New Zealand Cricket said late on Thursday.

The decision is a major setback for the Pakistan team which will begin a three-game Twenty20 International series against New Zealand on Dec 18 and a two-match Test series on Dec 26.

The visiting squad was issued a final warning after the breaches of isolation protocol occurred shortly after the team’s arrival in New Zealand last week. Close circuit television coverage from their hotel showed players breaking rules by mingling in corridors and sharing food.

Further breaches might have led to the team being expelled from New Zealand.

Players and officials are expected to remain in their own rooms for the first three days of the isolation period until the training exemption might come into force.

Squad members have been tested on the first, third day and sixth days of their stay in isolation.

All members tested negative on four occasions before the team left from Lahore to New Zealand but six members were positive on arrival. Two more have since returned positive tests and all eight are now in quarantine.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2020

Opinion

Fear and abuse
Updated 23 Jun 2021

Fear and abuse

Paedophiles and sexual abusers are present in many professions but clerical sexual abuse is of a particularly egregious character.
Diplomatic blundering
Updated 23 Jun 2021

Diplomatic blundering

Foreign policy is too serious a matter to be left to an individual’s political ambitions.
Loss of homes
22 Jun 2021

Loss of homes

For the vulnerable, a shelter is much more than a dwelling.

Editorial

PM’s views on rape
Updated 23 Jun 2021

PM’s views on rape

Rape is a crime primarily of power rather than lust, rooted in a contempt for others’ bodily integrity.
23 Jun 2021

Gas concerns

CONSUMERS face the prospect of ominous blackouts next month owing to the closure of two gas fields in Sindh, the ...
23 Jun 2021

New Iranian president

SAYYID Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s new president, is taking over at a time of great geopolitical flux, while the Islamic...
Describing OBL
22 Jun 2021

Describing OBL

FM Qureshi’s non-committal reply to question about Osama being a terrorist or a martyr has sent the wrong message to the world.
22 Jun 2021

A neglected sector

THE PTI legislators joined forces with opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly the other day to take their own...
22 Jun 2021

Air safari

THE resumption of PIA’s air safari flights to Skardu will hopefully attract international and domestic tourists,...