Player, coach breach bio-secure bubble as PSL 6 opens

Published February 21, 2021
PLAYERS of Quetta Gladiators warm up before the opening fixture of PSL 6 against Karachi Kings at the National Stadium on Saturday.—Tahir Jamal/White Star
PLAYERS of Quetta Gladiators warm up before the opening fixture of PSL 6 against Karachi Kings at the National Stadium on Saturday.—Tahir Jamal/White Star

KARACHI: Even before the first ball has been delivered in the HBL PSL 6 two individuals from the same team were found to have breached the bio-secure bubble late on Friday, while a player belonging to another side has tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).

Although the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has refused to reveal the identity of first team’s duo, who were placed in a three-day quarantine since, reliable sources said Peshawar Zalmi captain Wahab Riaz and head coach Darren Sammy came to contact with their franchise owner Javed Afridi outside the bio-secure bubble.

Now both Wahab and Sammy can only get back into the bio-secure bubble as per the re-entry protocols after requiring two negative tests during the quarantine period, and are automatically ruled out Peshawar Zalmi’s opening fixture against last season’s runners-up Lahore Qalandars on Sunday afternoon and their game versus Multan Sultans on Monday evening.

In a media release, the PCB expressed its annoyance at this abrupt breach of bio-secure bubble. “The PCB is disappointed that two members of one of the sides showed carelessness and violated the bio-secure bubble protocols by coming into a contact with a person who was not part of the bubble.

“As reiterated previously, the health and safety of all individuals associated with HBL Pakistan Super League 6 is of paramount importance to the PCB and the event.

Another player tests positive, quarantined

“All players, player support personnel, match officials and family members are once again reminded to diligently follow the PCB Covid-19 Protocols as the PCB will not allow anyone to affect the integrity and credibility of the tournament,” the media release added.

The sources claimed the player who had tested positive for Covid-19 is apparently from Lahore Qalandars. The unidentified player had shown symptoms and was in isolation, will now remain in quarantine for 10 days and will require two negative tests in order to integrate again with the side in accordance with the applicable re-entry protocols.

THE PSL 6 trophy is seen during its unveiling.
THE PSL 6 trophy is seen during its unveiling.

The PCB further said it will not make any further comment on this matter.

RECORDED OPENING CEREMONY

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no live opening ceremony ahead of the PSL HBL 6 this time. An almost 23-minute segment of the recorded ceremony in Turkey was televised by PTV and also beamed on the giant screen at the National Stadium.

Upfront after a musical version of the national anthem was played, there were the messages from PCB chairman Ehsan Mani and Habib Bank Limited (HBL) chief executive officer Mohammad Aurangzeb.

Mani, while welcoming the stakeholders involved with HBL PSL 6 said: “Fans are the ones who are behind the real success of PSL since its inception [in 2016]. Unfortunately, in the current scenario, we have restricted entry for the spectators as 7,500 would be allowed in at the National Stadium on each match day and 5,500 would be coming on each day of the matches at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.”

Aurangzeb appreciated the joint effort of HBL and PCB in the growth of PSL over the years. “It’s a great partnership between HBL and PCB and the HBL PSL had grown year after year is a testimony of its huge popularity among the fans. WE wish all team best of luck because the it’s the HBL PSL platform which had played a big role in unearthing future stars for Pakistan. Whoever wins, the victory is Pakistan’s.”

While HBL PSL 6’s anthem ‘Groove Mera’ sung by Naseebo Lal, Aima Baig and rap group Young Stunners as the final item on the musical front. Atif Aslam was the first to come on the stage and caught the attention with two of captivating numbers ‘Aadat’ and ‘Who Lamhe Who Baate’. He was followed by known singer Imran Khan with actress Humaima Malick, who lent her voice in the singing of three Imran’s numbers ‘Amplifier’, ‘Bewafa’ and ‘Satisfiya’.

The ceremony concluded with fireworks, which were live, of course.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2021

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