Islamabad: Three more players tested positive for COVID-19, Pakistan’s cricket board announced on Thursday, raising questions about whether the hugely popular tournament would continue or be postponed over coronavirus fears.
Islamabad’s two foreign cricketers, including Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, and another unnamed foreign player are already in isolation after testing positive earlier this week.
Defending champions Karachi Kings defeated Peshawar Zalmi by six wickets while Quetta Gladiators beat Multan Sultans by 22 runs on Wednesday. Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United are the other two teams competing in Pakistan’s premier Twenty20 league.
“Pakistan Cricket Board has confirmed three more players from two different teams have tested positive for Covid-19 and they will now self-isolate for 10 days,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement. “The three players were not part of the sides that featured in Wednesday’s HBL Pakistan Super League 6 double-header and had been tested in the afternoon after showing symptoms.”
It added that PSL’s sixth edition “organizing committee will hold a virtual meeting with the team owners and management later on Thursday, following which a further update will be provided.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board has also decided to offer coronavirus vaccine doses to all participants of PSL, becoming the first cricket board to do so.
“The decision has been made in the line with the PCB’s duty of care policy and to ensure all participants of the league remain safe and healthy during the event, which concludes on 22 March,” PCB said in a separate statement on Wednesday. “The vaccine doses will be administered on Thursday and will be offered to all those inside the biosecure bubble. However, it will solely be the players and officials’ decision if they want to get the vaccine shots.”
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said the cricket board took the “health, safety and wellbeing of its players and officials very seriously.”