PCB CEO says health and safety of players is paramount and vows to play remaining matches before the next PSL
The Pakistan Super League’s fifth edition were called off abruptly on Tuesday, with the Pakistan Cricket Board saying the decision was taken because a player had reported symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
“HBL PSL 2020 postponed, to be rescheduled. More details to follow in due course,” the PCB posted on Twitter early on Tuesday. In a subsequent press conference, PCB CEO Wasim Khan clarified that the decision had not taken at the government’s behest.
“There was no government direction to postpone,” he said to a question. “But PCB took this decision because all the players participating in the tournament are our responsibility. We have to look after their health and well-being,” he added.
Khan said all the players and broadcasters who had come into contact with the suspected patient—whose identity has not been disclosed—would be tested for the coronavirus. He said the overseas player who had reported symptoms had recently left Pakistan. “Once he confirmed the symptoms, we took the sensible response to postpone the series,” he said, adding that it was the “right decision” and a “good decision.”
According to the PCB CEO, the decision was taken in the morning despite all four teams scheduled to play willing to proceed. “We’re talking about lives. Not everything is about profit… we will reschedule [the remaining matches] before the next PSL,” he added.
The knockout matches of PSL had been set to occur in Lahore today, with the final set for Wednesday. All three matches have now been postponed.
In the first semi-final Multan Sultans were set to face Peshawar Zalmi at 2 p.m. at the Gaddafi Stadium, while Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars were set to take the field in the evening fixture.
Pakistan has reported over 190 cases of the novel coronavirus, with the majority being confirmed in Sindh province thus far. The government has announced a series of preventative measures to halt the spread of the disease, including bans on public gatherings, closure of schools and calls on the public to practice social distancing.