In statement, PCB announces 10 players, one coach have opted to pull out of tournament over coronavirus fears
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday announced a list of players that have withdrawn from the ongoing Pakistan Super League 2020 tournament, adding that all players have been given the option to leave over fears about the coronavirus pandemic.
In a press release, the cricket authority said that despite the exit of some players, the tournament would continue as planned. “The PCB and the team owners, as part of their duty of care, have decided to give all the players the option to decide if they wish to return home,” PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan was quoted as saying in the statement.
According to the PCB, the players who have opted to return to their homes are: Alex Hales (Karachi Kings); Rilee Rossouw (Multan Sultans); James Vince (Multan Sultans); Tom Banton (Peshawar Zalmi); Carlos Brathwaite (Peshawar Zalmi); Liam Dawson (Peshawar Zalmi); Lewis Gregory (Peshawar Zalmi); Liam Livingstone (Peshawar Zalmi); Jason Roy (Quetta Gladiators); Tymal Mills (Quetta Gladiators). In addition, Peshawar Zalmi coach James Foster has also expressed his desire to withdraw from the tournament at this stage.
“This remains an evolving and unprecedented situation with a number of moving parts that require constant and regular monitoring. Ensuring that the players feel comfortable remains paramount to the PCB,” Khan said in the statement. “As of now, it is important to emphasize and clarify that the main concern of many of the 10 players and a coach, who have chosen to return home, revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded either due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries,” he added.
According to Khan, the PCB would facilitate the safe return of all players. He said the board would continue to monitor the situation and would take decisions as required to ensure the safety for all involved.
Earlier, Sindh confirmed Pakistan’s first “secondary contact case” after a man with no international travel history tested positive for the coronavirus in Karachi after traveling there from Islamabad. The provincial government had on Thursday already announced that the remaining PSL matches in Karachi would be played without any live audience as a means to prevent large numbers of people from gathering in one location.
While the PCB has supported the Sindh government’s decision, it has yet to announce if similar plans are being considered for Lahore, where the final matches of the PSL are set to take place next week. There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from Punjab thus far, but experts warn that the only way to prevent a major outbreak is through ‘social distancing’ and cancelling all events where large groups of people would gather in a single location.