Covid strikes Balochistan team

Published October 7, 2021
Stand-in Balochistan captain Bismillah Khan surveys his stumps after being castled by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi during the National T20 Cup match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday. — Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
Stand-in Balochistan captain Bismillah Khan surveys his stumps after being castled by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi during the National T20 Cup match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday. — Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

LAHORE: Balochistan were forced to pull out of the National T20 Cup match against Northern on Wednesday night after it emerged that four players in their squad had tested positive for Covid-19.

While the affected players were duly quarantined from the squad, the organisers changed the schedule with the bottom-placed Southern Punjab replacing Balochistan for the scheduled game at the Gaddafi Stadium.

The Pakistan Cricket Board, in a media release stated that Balochistan will now play Northern on Saturday, also under lights, while there is no change to the planned fixture between Balochistan and defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday.

“Balochistan will beef up their squad with players from their Cricket Association Championship three-day tournament side. The player transfer will be from bubble-to-bubble but the replacement players will undergo CT-PCR testing as per the PCB Covid-19 Protocols,” the PCB said.

“The Pakistan players and support staff for the ICC T20 World Cup will participate in the National T20 Cup until Oct 7, and on the next day they will shift to the designated T20 World Cup bubble, which is being set-up by the PCB as per the ICC regulations.

“Meanwhile, the PCB continues to monitor the situation and is retesting all participants and their families. It has also been decided the frequency of testing will be increased for the remainder of the tournament.”

It is pertinent to mention here both Sindh and Balochistan squads while travelling from Rawalpindi to Lahore on Saturday, after completing the first leg of the tournament spent some time at the Bheera Rest Area on the Motorway and breached the bio-secure bubble’s code of conducts since they went to the washrooms and also had refreshments.

Coincidentally, some Lahore-based sports journalists — coming from Rawalpindi to the city after playing a cricket match, — made a stopover at the rest area and saw the players roaming freely a.

Meanwhile, the other four teams reached Lahore on Sunday. But the until now, the PCB have maintained silence on Saturday’s incident.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2021

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